A Chance for a “Face-to-Face” Opportunity
The Colorado Legislature continues to study a proposal to eliminate the presence and requirement to check a “felony box” on an application during the initial interviewing process.
The thinking behind the study is that often former offenders have completed their sentences, progressed well through the corrections system, perhaps completed probation terms and conditions and are prepared to re-enter the work force, do not have the advantage of meeting with a potential employer face-to-face, a crucial meeting which often influences first impressions and opens up invitations to either further interview or, best case, be offered employment.
From my own experience at CEO working one-on-one with our clients on job search, I know that their chances always greatly improve when they are able to visit and talk with a perspective employer. I have heard so many stories about employers who have a “policy” of not hiring felons, change their minds upon meeting one of our clients. So often the clients are told “I believe in second chances”.
CEO clients are required to conduct much of their initial job search via computer and so many employers have on-line applications containing “The Box”. This becomes the eliminating factor when a business person is reviewing a stack of applications received on-line.
The draft currently being considered for movement to a bill is receiving push-back from some business groups who claim that preventing initial felony screening increases the cost of hiring practices.
The current draft also does exclude certain employers who are required to screen for past criminal offenses. Colorado state government dropped the initial “felony box” requirement a few years back via Colorado House Bill 1263 which was signed into law by Governor John Hickenlooper. That measure only applied to certain State agencies and did not pertain to the private sector. Several States are currently considering “Ban the Box” legislation.
Community Educational Outreach will continue to watch the discussions in the State Legislature as it impacts virtually every CEO client. The primary firm behind the push for “Ban the Box” is the Colorado Center on Law and Policy. You can visit their site if you wish to inquire about the status of this issue.