Davis introduces legislation to help job applicants with criminal records

Bill would prohibit employers from asking about such history until conditional job offer is made

HARRISBURG, March 19 – In an effort to give state residents with a criminal record a chance to find meaningful, family-sustaining jobs, state Rep. Austin Davis today introduced legislation that would prohibit employers from inquiring about a prospective employee’s criminal history until a conditional offer of employment has been made.

Coined “Ban the Box,” Davis’ H.B. 898 is modeled after a similar application process currently in place in Allegheny County. It’s a system Davis said has yielded positive results.

“We live in a land of hope and opportunity, but sometimes fair opportunities are squandered because of mistakes made in the past. That’s not what this country was built on – everyone deserves a second chance, especially when it comes to being able to provide for one’s family,” said Davis, D-Allegheny.

“Applicants with criminal histories are automatically disqualified for certain jobs before the ink dries on their application, and that’s unacceptable. This bill would not only reduce repeat offenders but also provide qualified workers for our growing workforce.”

If enacted into law, Davis’ measure would still allow employers required by state or federal law to inquire about criminal histories at the appropriate, required time.