Michigan May Ban Criminal History from Job Applications

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Have You Been Convicted of a Crime?

A new bill in Michigan currently being reviewed by the state House committee would stop employers from asking prospective employees to disclose their criminal history on job applications.

If the bill is passed, the check box regarding criminal history will be removed and employers will instead need to wait for a background check or actual interview to learn about previous crimes.

The bill aims to help felons find a job once they get out of prison, which reduces the likelihood of repeat offenses.

Twenty-two states have jurisdictions that have taken such measures to remove the felony information from job applications. Three jurisdictions in Michigan - Detroit, Kalamazoo, and Muskegon - already have particular laws about criminal history application questions.

Most recently, Target stores banned the felony check box on its applications nationwide. A movement called "Ban the Box" has pushed for years for such a change at all workplaces.

Is this a good or bad idea? Should hiring managers know about felonies up front?

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