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Serving People from Arrest to Reintegration

65 Million "Need Not Apply" - The Case for Reforming Criminal Background Checks for Employment (National Employment Law Project)

  • Organization: National Employment Law Project
  • Document Type: Report
  • Date Created: Wednesday, April 06, 2011
  • Submitted: Wednesday, April 06, 2011
  • Attachment(s): LINK

More than one in four U.S. adults-roughly 65 million people-have an arrest or conviction that shows up in a routine criminal background check, and a new report from the National Employment Law Project finds that these Americans are facing unprecedented barriers to employment. With the rapidly expanding use of background checks, employers are routinely, and often illegally, excluding all job applicants who have criminal records from consideration, no matter how minor or dated their offenses.

The report highlights the widespread and illegal use of blanket no-hire policies by providing numerous examples of online job ads posted on Craigslist, including some by major corporations, that effectively bar significant portions of the U.S. population from work opportunities.

NELP recommends a menu of reforms to advance the employment rights of people with criminal records and promote safety and security at the workplace. Specifically, the report recommends more aggressive enforcement of the national civil rights and consumer protection laws that regulate criminal background checks for employment, a new federal sector initiative to adopt fair hiring policies that serve as a model for all employers, and leadership on the part of the employer community and Craigslist to properly balance the mutual interest of workers and employers in fairer and more accurate criminal background checks for employment.

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