Federal Manager's Daily Report

Bill would bar agencies and contractors from asking about criminal history prior to a conditional job offer

Bipartisan legislation has been reintroduced in the House and Senate (HR-1076 and S-387) to extend to the federal government the “ban the box” hiring policy to help persons with a criminal record gain employment.

The bill would generally bar federal agencies and contractors from asking about the criminal history of a job applicant prior to a conditional offer of employment.

Sponsors say that 33 states and more than 150 cities already have such policies, saying that studies show that those who answer in the affirmative to a question on a job application asking if they have a criminal record–the so-called “box”–have a much lower chance of even moving to the next step of the hiring process.

The measure would generally bar executive, legislative and judicial branch entities from requesting criminal history information from applicants until they reach the conditional offer stage. There would be exceptions for positions related to law enforcement and national security duties, positions requiring access to classified information, and positions for which access to criminal history information before the conditional offer stage is required by law.