Bipartisan Bill Would ‘Ban-the-Box’ for Federal Job Applicants

From labor disputes cases to labor and employment publications, for your research, you’ll find solutions on Bloomberg Law®. Protect your clients by developing strategies based on Litigation...

By Louis C. LaBrecque

Federal agencies, congressional offices and federal courts would be banned from requesting criminal history information from applicants until they reach the conditional offer stage under a new bill.

Reps. Elijah E. Cummings (D-Md.) and Darrell Issa (R-Calif.) introduced the Fair Chance Act April 5. Sen. Cory Booker (D-N.J.) introduced a companion bill in the Senate.

In addition to the executive, legislative and judicial branches, the measure would apply to private-sector contractors for positions within the scope of federal contracts. It includes exceptions for law enforcement and national security jobs, positions requiring access to classified information, and those for which access to criminal history information before the conditional offer stage is required by law.

The Office of Personnel Management last November announced a final rule calling on agencies to stop asking about criminal histories in initial hiring. The rule and similar state and local measures are referred to as “ban the box” because they would remove the box asking about criminal histories from job applicants.

Eighteen states and more than 100 cities and counties have ban-the-box policies, Cummings and Issa said in a joint statement. Wal-Mart, Koch Industries, Target, Home Depot, Starbucks and Bed, Bath & Beyond have also embraced the policies, they said.

To contact the reporter on this story: Louis C. LaBrecque in Washington at

To contact the editors responsible for this story: Peggy Aulino at; Terence Hyland at; Christopher Opfer at

For More Information

Text of the bill is available at

Copyright © 2017 The Bureau of National Affairs, Inc. All Rights Reserved.

Request Labor & Employment on Bloomberg Law