Criminal Record No Barrier to State Jobs in Georgia

Georgia Governor’s Executive Order “Bans the Box” for State Jobs.

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Georgia Governor Nathan Deal issued an Executive Order that prohibits state agencies from eliminating candidates from hiring consideration based solely on criminal background. Georgia state agencies will adjust hiring practices so that the application and interview process encourages full participation of qualified persons, regardless of their criminal history.

U.S. States that Ban the Box

Although Georgia’s “ban the box” effort doesn’t extend to private workplaces, the move signals a nationwide effort to adjust hiring practices to consider applicants who may have criminal backgrounds. In the U.S., 100 cities and counties have adopted “ban the box” legislation to provide applicants a fair chance by removing the conviction history question on the job application and delaying the background check inquiry until later in the hiring. Georgia joins thirteen other States “ban the box”, including:

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  • California (2013, 2010)
  • Colorado (2012)
  • Connecticut (2010)
  • Delaware (2014)
  • Georgia (2015)
  • Hawaii (1998)
  • Illinois (2014, 2013)
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  • Maryland (2013)
  • Massachusetts (2010)
  • Minnesota (2013, 2009)
  • Nebraska (2014)
  • New Jersey (2014)
  • New Mexico (2010)
  • Rhode Island (2013)
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The Georgia “Ban the Box” Executive Order would be good news for Georgia-born Prettyboy Floyd (Charles Floyd) if he were: a). alive, and b). in the market for a job in Georgia state government. Prettyboy who was born in Adairsville, Georgia. After Johnny Law plugged John Dillinger in 1934, Prettyboy Floyd became Public Enemy No. 1. He was skilled in payroll and transportation, but he wasn’t much of a bookkeeper.

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New Jersey Bans the Box: Criminal Background Checks

The New Jersey legislature passed The Opportunity to Compete Act (S-2500) to prohibit employers from performing criminal background checks and asking applicants about criminal records until after an initial interview.

The Bill now awaits signature by Governor Chris Christie.

What Ban the Box Means for New Jersey Employers

  • Job Advertisements: Employers cannot set requirements for job applicants in job ads that would screen out applicants with criminal records.
  • Job Applications: Employers won’t be able to include questions about applicants’ criminal record on job applications.
  • Initial Interviews: Employers are not allowed to “make any oral or written inquiry regarding an applicant’s criminal record during the initial employment application process,” but if job applicants voluntarily reveal information about criminal records, employers may then ask further questions about the applicants’ criminal records.

New Jersey’s Commissioner of Labor and Workforce Development will enforce the law, fining any employer who violates the Act up to $1,000 for the first violation, $5,000 for the second violation, and $10,000 for each subsequent violation.

The Act does not reference a required posting for New Jersey employers, but the GovDocs Research Department will continue to monitor New Jersey for updates.

Ban the Box Gains Momentum in U.S.

New Jersey joins 12 other states who have passed similar Ban the Box laws. Additionally, nearly 70 cities and counties (such as New Jersey’s own Atlantic City and Newark) have passed ordinances designed to allow job applicants with a criminal record a second chance.


San Francisco Limits Employers’ Applicant Background Checks

The City and County of San Francisco Board of Supervisors passed the Ordinance and Mayor Edwin M. Lee signed it into law. The new ordinance (San Francisco Police Code, Article 49) limits the use of criminal history information in pre-employment screening and goes into effect August 13, 2014.

Similar language was added to the City’s Administrative Code to require City contractors and subcontractors to adhere to the same limits when making decisions regarding employment of persons for work on City contracts and subcontracts.

San Francisco is the fifth municipality in the U.S. to restrict criminal background checks during employment screening: Buffalo, Newark, Philadelphia, and Seattle are the other four. Four states also “ban the box”: Hawaii, Massachusetts, Minnesota, and Rhode Island.

New Restrictions for San Francisco Employers

Employers with 20 or more employees, City contractors, and housing providers are prohibited from requiring job applicants to disclose any conviction history or unresolved arrests until either after the first live interview with the person after a conditional offer of employment. Regardless, there are some details regarding an applicant’s criminal history that remain off limits during all stages of the hiring process. Employers are prohibited from asking applicants about or requiring disclosure of:

  • Arrests not leading to a conviction.
  • Participation in or completion of a diversion or a deferral of judgment program.
  • Convictions that have been dismissed or expunged.
  • Juvenile justice system convictions or adjudications.
  • Convictions more than seven years old.
  • Information pertaining to an offense other than a felony or misdemeanor, such as an infraction.

New Hiring Processes for San Francisco Employers

  • Posting Requirement: The City’s Office of Labor Standards Enforcement (OLSE) produced a posting ahead of the August 13, 2014 posting deadline. The new posting details applicant and employee rights under the “ban the box” ordinance. The posting will be available in English, Spanish, Chinese, and all languages spoken by more than 5% of the San Francisco workforce.
  • Employment Solicitations: Employers must state in all job solicitations and employment advertisements that the Employer will consider for employment qualified applicants with criminal histories.
  • Copy to Applicant: Prior to conducting a conviction history inquiry, an Employer must provide the applicant a copy of the notice.

City Posting Coverage

San Francisco is one of 52 cities covered by GovDocs’ Update Program coverage for labor law posting compliance. When you need seamless compliance for the U.S. and Canada, contact us!

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