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Ban-the-Box Not Always Instant Legislative Passage, Employers Should Still Take Notice; Opines

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March 17, 2020 Return to News & Events

Ban-the-Box Not Always Instant Legislative Passage, Employers Should Still Take Notice; Opines

The challenge with Ban-the-Box legislation in West Virginia reminds employers and hiring managers why they should ensure pre-employment background screening policies are current and compliant with law. Adam Almeida, president and CEO of opines: “Hiring managers need to take note whenever a law governing the use of criminal background records are attempted, such as the recent action in West Virginia, and a best practice remains to work with a well-qualified third-party pre-employment background screening agency in order to remain compliant with existing law and aware of potential law.”

The legislature in West Virginia recently went through an unsuccessful effort to implement Ban-the-Box legislation for all public agencies. Adam Almeida, President and CEO of states: “Even when a legislative effort fails to implement a Ban-the-Box law, employers and hiring managers should take note and ensure existing policies are compliant with law.”

Legislators in West Virginia recently attempted to enact a Ban-the-Box law that would force all public employers and agencies to ban the question of criminal history on applications. It explicitly dictates when the offer of employment can be made as well as when a background check that includes criminal history information can be conducted.

The movement behind eliminating criminal history from the employment application is to allow for greater access for employment from individuals with criminal histories.

From West Virginia’s Register-Herald on February 22, 2020 discussing the reasons behind Ban-the-Box in West Virginia:

Del. Sammi Brown, D-Jefferson, the bill sponsor, noted that criminal convictions are one symptom of the ongoing drug epidemic.

"It's a public safety matter," she said. "It's a decreasing crime matter. It's also getting folks back into the job force and making them fully capable and autonomous over their own lives, and you're less likely to commit another crime if you're gainfully employed. You're less likely to go back into incarceration if you're providing for yourself and your family, and we just want to give folks quality of life and dignity." (1)

But the push for Ban-the-Box legislation brings political challenges.

After introduction Republican’s killed the Ban-the-Box legislation.

From Register-Herald webpage on February 27, 2010:

Republicans in the West Virginia House of Delegates Rules Committee voted on Wednesday to kill a bill that would have prevented public employers from asking about a job applicant's criminal history unless the applicant signed a waiver. (2)

Ban-the-Box will continue to find its way into different jurisdictions but there are challenges to all legislative actions. However, all hiring managers and employers should check policies and procedures on pre-employment screening to ensure compliance with law. And laws tend to change quick.

Almeida concludes: “Employers and hiring managers should pay attention to all legislative action, even those that don’t pass into law. A best practice remains that all hiring managers and employers work with a well-qualified third-party pre-employment screening agency to stay fully compliant with existing and potential laws governing the use of criminal history reports as a part of background screening.” is a third-party employment screening company, an advocate of SHRM, a member in good standing with the PBSA (Professional Background Screening Association) and for over 17 years has maintained an A+ Rating with the BBB (Better Business Bureau). The company has highly trained operators well versed in the needs and requirements of companies and organizations large and small utilizing public records, such as criminal background records, as part of a hiring process. Assisting companies in maintaining full compliance under the law is a central tenet of all client relationships with




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