The announcement came though Executive Order of the Governor. Ban the Box in all state employment applications.(Richmond Times-Dispatch)
When I saw the announcement to ban the box, I had no idea what it meant. Then I learned that state employees will no longer have to indicate on their employment applications whether or not they have been convicted of a crime.
According to the Governor, the order is supposed to remove a current barrier of employment for anyone who has not applied because of a past crime. According to the Governnor’s spokesman, Virginians who have done their time and paid their price should not be excluded from state employment. It means “forgiveness and second chances”.
I assumed that this meant that it was basically an order of encouragment. “Don’t be afraid to apply”. That Human Resources would still do a criminal backround check.
Like buying a chicken rotisserie from an infomercial… but wait, there’s more. The caveat. The order states that a background check can only be conducted after a prospective employee has been determined to be qualified and is being considered for the job. Basically, getting through the door and being considered for hiring. Maybe the perverbial phone call that says, “You are now one of three still being considered”.
One legal note on state law regarding employment for the state. This does not apply to applicatons for state jobs that involve money or the Virginia Department of Alcohol Beverage Control. I almost feel like inserting a punchline there.
For positions categorized as state “sensitive” such as state troopers, child care and corrections and prison officers, background checks will still be required. A waiver will have to be signed for those to be conducted.
Does this mean that child molesters are now able to work at Medical College of Virginia hospital? That computer hackers and identify thieves will be working at DMV? According to the Governor… No. It just means that individuals convicted of a felony are not automatically disqualified from applying for state jobs.
Does this mean that private businesses will soon be subject to this change in hiring because of a state law change? Well, such companies as Walmart, Home Depot and Target have already “removed the box”. However, I’m guessing that Virginia still does not want to upset the apple cart of being considered as friendly for business and will not take the next step to apply this to all private businesses.
This same bill had been presented in the Virginia legislature this past session. It passed the state Senate but got defeated in the House. That’s why the Governor took the step of issuing the Executive Order. Virginia joins 14 other states who have embraced this second chance employment opportunity in “banning the box”.
One final thought. More than 650,000 are released from prison nationwide every year according to the Department of Justice.
And for pic o’ day, a high five for Monday!