Nearly 70 million Americans in the United states have some form of criminal record. These records often disqualify individuals from being productive members of society despite having paid their debt to society. It is detrimental to our society for so many people to struggle in finding employment. Throughout President Obama’s terms in office, he has worked towards reforming the American judicial system, reducing many employment barriers.
It is President Obama’s belief that criminal records inhibit citizens from participating productively in society, meaning that obtaining a job much less keeping that job is difficult and bad for our economy. On April 11, 2016, private-sector companies were called forward to participate in the “Fair Chance Business Pledge”. This pledge eliminated employment barriers for individuals with criminal records. A few of the companies who have joined this pledge include American Airlines, The Coca-Cola Company, Facebook, Georgia-Pacific, Google, The Hershey Company, The Johns Hopkins Hospital and Health System, PepsiCo, Starbucks, and Unilever and Xerox. By signing this pledge these companies have agreed to:
- “Banning the Box”, delaying criminal history questions until later in the hiring process. This ensures that criminal history information is considered in proper context.
- Providing internships and job training to individuals with a criminal history.
- Training human resources staff for making fair decisions regarding all applicants, but especially applicants with criminal records.
- Using reliable background check providers to help ensure the accuracy of the applicant.
- Hosting job fairs which promote Fair Chance and Opportunity.
The Justice Department has deemed the week of April 24-30 2016, as National Reentry Week. Across the country, there will be job fairs, practice interviews, mentorship programs and events for children of incarcerated parents, all meant to strengthen and encourage the employment of United States citizens with criminal records.
Individual states are beginning to enforce “banning the box”. Although the pledge does not protect background information from being shared with employers, “banning the box” does mean that criminal records will not be asked for or shared in the early stages of hiring.
To learn more about how your background, or the background history of your employee will affect your employment opportunity, contact us.