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Supporters of Ban-the-Box legislation are making a renewed push this Congressional session to place restrictions on the federal government’s and federal contractors’ ability to conduct criminal background checks on applicants.  In the case of federal contractors the restriction would be limited to applicants assigned to work on a federal contract.  Previous legislation in the Ban-the-Box vein had sought to restrict all employers in the U.S. from conducting pre-offer of employment criminal history inquiries.  Such legislation never got far with the Congress, but this more recent proposal, titled the Fair Chance Act, is more limited in scope and is expected to have more support, albeit not likely enough support to pass both bodies of Congress.

 Interestingly, the requirements of this proposal are already within the authority of the President act upon through his Executive Order powers; something the President has declined to do thus far.  If lobbying efforts intensify on this issue and there is increasing support, even if it is insufficient for passage by Congress, it might not be unexpected for the President to go forward and issue his own Executive Order banning the federal government and federal contractors from pre-offer of employment criminal history inquiries.    

Thompson Coe and myHRgenius Tip of the Week is not intended as a solicitation, does not constitute legal advice, and does not establish an attorney-client relationship.


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