W.Va. House To Consider ‘Ban The Box’ Bill

West Virginia could be one of more than 30 states to “ban the box” and prohibit certain employers from asking applicants about their criminal history, after lawmakers considered House Bill 4905 Friday evening.

The legislation from Del. Sammi Brown, D-Jefferson, would only apply to public employers, on a state or county level, and it excludes public positions dealing with law enforcement, community safety, civil service, and those involving direct interaction with minors or the elderly.

The “box” in her bill, and several others that have been and are being considered nationwide, refers to an area on most applications asking applicants to indicate whether they have a criminal history or not

Under House Bill 4905, employers still can ask about criminal records, but they have to wait until the applicant has finished applying and received a job interview. Applicants also can sign a waiver, authorizing employers to conduct criminal background checks.

Brown said the legislation was introduced “to level the playing field and address recidivism.”

“[It’s] not to create a veil, not to be dishonest in their application, but instead to be judged by their qualifications and what they can bring,” she said Friday. “What we’re after here is, again, trying to get people back into the workforce.”

The House Judiciary Committee agreed to send an amended version of the bill to the full House of Delegates with a favorable recommendation. Delegates changed the bill to include a provision allowing employers to publish which criminal charges would make an applicant ineligible. FULL ARTICLE

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