Should Michigan Ban Employers From Asking About Felony Convictions on Job Applications?

Ban the checkbox

Are you a convicted felon that has had a difficult time getting a job?

The job market is tough for someone who has never been convicted of a crime and it’s even harder if you have. Often times, ex-felons get weeded out of the hire pool before they’ve even had a chance. Right now, democratic lawmakers are trying to change that with a new piece of legislation called “Ban-the-box”.

“Ban-the-box”

Ban-the-box is proposed legislation that was introduced by Republican Fred Durhal Jr, a Democrat from Detroit. It would ban employers from asking whether or not you have any felony convictions unless the position prohibits some felonies, for example the position of a police officer.

Employers can still perform background checks and question criminal history in interviews.

Detroit, Muskegon County, Saginaw County, and Kalamazoo have already enacted this ban.

Do You Believe In Second Chances?

According to The Detroit Free Press, supporters of the ban state:

We can’t afford to have that many people locked out of jobs,” she said. “We can’t afford to have that many people unable to pay rent, put food on their table and provide for themselves and their family.”
Durhal pointed to well-known ex-cons, including Judge Greg Mathis and state Sen. Bert Johnson, as examples of people who turned around their lives.

People who oppose the ban state:

Michael Pachuta sees both sides of the issue. He’s president of Credential Check Corp., a Troy-based firm that does background checks and drug testing for employers. “There are two sides to this. One of them is employers have a duty to provide a safe workplace environment,” he said, explaining that it can be difficult for employers who want to make a quick hire when they don’t have the information up front.”

What do you think? Should we “ban-the-box”?