Senate Passes 'Ban the Box' Bill

Feb 6, 2015

Virginia State Senate has passed legislation that would impact state hiring of applicants with criminal convictions. The "Ban the Box" bill would allow to people who were charged or convicted of crimes to advance further in the employment vetting process before a prospective employer could inquire about any criminal history. 

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Senator Rosalyn Dance’s bill prohibits preliminary questions that ask about criminal history - or "The Box”- on state employment applications, and also gives localities the discretion to do so.  Once an employer expresses a desire to hire the applicant, then he may ask, and use his discretion as to whether the offense is serious enough to deny employment. Senator Tom Garrett says there's a problem with that.

"Nothing frustrates me more than seeing laws either not enforced or not applied uniformly. My contention is that, if you get different justice in one place than you do in another, then there is no justice--by definition. And that's what this bill, if it is open to the interpretation of the hirer, opens us up to."

The bill would not apply to fire departments, law enforcement, and emergency medical services agencies.