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State Bans Employers From Asking Applicants About Criminal History

Colorado Governor Jared Polis signed the "Ban the Box" legislation into law on Tuesday.

Aurora, CO – Colorado Governor Jared Polis has signed off on a bill banning employers from asking potential employees about their criminal histories on job applications.

Polis endorsed the bill, known as the “Ban the Box” law, at the Second Chance Center on Tuesday, KCNC reported.

The “box” referenced in the legislation refers to a section on applications where employers formerly asked prospective employees if they have ever been convicted of a felony offense.

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Proponents of the law argue that applicants shouldn’t be immediately disqualified for positions just because they have criminal histories.

Under the new law, applicants have better odds of being selected for an interview.

“This is really common sense,” Democratic Representative Jovan Melton said of the legislation. “If we want people to create a better future for themselves, we got to give them the tools they need to pull themselves up.”

Employers will still be allowed to run background checks, KDVR reported.

The law will go into effect in September for businesses that employ 11 people or more. Companies with fewer than 11 employees will have to change their hiring practices by September of 2021.

The law applies to entities both in the private and public sectors, according to U.S. News and World Report.

Polis also signed a similar measure into law on Tuesday, which bans public universities and colleges in the state from asking prospective students about their criminal histories on their applications, KDVR reported.

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Colorado is the 13th state to adopt “Ban the Box” legislation, according to U.S. News and World Report.

Hawaii, California, Illinois, Connecticut, Minnesota, Massachusetts, New Mexico, New Jersey, Rhode Island, Oregon, Washington, and Vermont have also implemented similar laws.

Conversely, Maryland Governor Larry Hogan vetoed a “Ban the Box” bill on May 24, The Washington Post reported.

Hogan argued that employers have a right to use criminal history information as a screening tool during the initial phases of the hiring process.

Holly Matkin - May Thu, 2019

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