Legislators in the State of California are considering three new bills that would make it easier for convicted criminals to gain employment. The first proposed bill would allow former prisoners to request having their criminal records expunged once they have completed their sentences. The second proposed bill would follow the “ban the box” legislation that has gained popularity other states and cities, such as Illinois and Philadelphia. Proponents of “ban the box” would like to see all employers remove question box on employment applications that asks “Have you ever been convicted of a crime?” The third proposed bill would reduce a conviction for possessing drugs for personal use down to a misdemeanor; this crime is currently categorized as a felony. Thirteen states have already re-classified possession of drugs for personal use as a misdemeanor, including New York, Pennsylvania, Massachusetts, and South Carolina. These states have seen a steady increase in drug treatment and rehabilitation and a strong decrease in drug use.

We feel that having a section on an employment application that specifically states if a person has been convicted of a felony or misdemeanor crime within the last 7 years is a great tool that employers can use to ensure their employees are telling the truth; we therefore would not support this legislation.

Employers Choice Screening Legislative Alerts are provided as a free service to clients, friends and subscribers of Employers Choice Screening, a division of Diversified Risk Management, Inc. The intent is to provide information of value to attorneys, human resource, security, and risk management professionals. The information contained in this e-mail alert is intended to provide useful information on the topics covered, but should not be construed as legal advice or a legal opinion.

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