May 28, 201402:12 PMOpen for Business
with Jody Glynn Patrick
What’s your policy on hiring felons?
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New York Attorney General Eric Schneiderman’s office concluded that Bed Bath & Beyond’s act of summarily “slamming the door on job seekers … is not only wrong — it’s illegal.” The company, which operates 62 stores in New York, agreed — without admitting any corporate-level wrongdoing — to the terms of the settlement, which include conducting training to bring all its practices in line with New York law.
A refresher on both federal and state employment law is always a good idea, and there are HR companies in the area that offer duty of care workshops for managers. Certainly a seminar is less expensive than an HR misstep might be, and training goes toward potential corporate defense.
Personally, I appreciate Wisconsin’s narrow stance, and I also find the ban-the-box movement to have merit. If left to our own judgments, a checked box indicating a felony arrest/conviction would automatically eliminate many candidates who otherwise would be qualified to do a job, further limiting their opportunity to prove rehabilitation and become contributing, taxpaying citizens. The entire premise of our legal system is to rehabilitate rather than punish, and shunning a labor pool estimated at 6 million people is a little nearsighted. (I’d also mention that, although the U.S. has just 5% of the world’s population, our jails house roughly 25% of the world’s incarcerated people, but that’s another blog for another time.)
What’s your opinion?
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