Louisiana Adopts “Ban the Box”
Louisiana has become one of 24 states that have now passed “ban the box” legislation, meaning that job applicants will be evaluated based on skills and interview conversations rather than just a check mark.
Governor John Bel Edwards signed the bill on Wednesday prohibiting state employers from inquiring about the previous criminal activity of an applicant before they are interviewed. The new bill will allow formerly incarcerated job applicants to “Let the (hiring) folks know who they are, what their qualifications are, their interest in seeking employment, their ability to do the job, before criminal history is taken into consideration,” said Governor Edwards.
The new law will affect approximately 30,000 “unclassified” employee positions with the state and will be effective starting August 1, 2016. The bipartisan bill is a step in revamping the state’s criminal justice laws, according to Smart on Crime Louisiana (bipartisan group that pushes for incarceration reduction). Opponents of the law feel that it will lead to mandates for private businesses, and would put up barriers in disqualifying an applicant due to past criminal activity.