Circulating within the California legislation is a bill known as the Ban the Box Bill. In essence, the legislation is seeking to remove and ban the box on employment applications regarding criminal background checks. If this is passed, employers will not have a legal right to ask if a job candidate has been convicted of a crime.
There are two main talking points on both sides of the issue. The first is from human rights advocates that say job seekers who have a criminal past are being unjustly passed over and are discriminated against when they disclose their criminal convictions during pre employment screening. They feel like the potential employees have already paid their dues for the crimes that were committed and should now be given a clean slate to try and rebuild their lives.
Since 1 in 4 have a criminal record, there are too many potential employees who cannot find work, and are therefore a strain on the state, as they often have to collect government assistance to supplement their lack of income.
The flip side comes from the employers who say because 1 in 4 have a criminal past, it is necessary to find out up front who does and does not have a conviction. They feel that they have a right to hire the best candidate for the position. Many employers feel that they would hire a convicted applicant, depending on what the conviction was for, and what position they had applied for, provided it was disclosed upfront and not uncovered during a criminal background check.
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