ColorOfChange.org Launches Campaign Urging Governor Jerry Brown to “Ban the Box” on Government Employment Applications in California
Online Civil Rights Group Launches Petition Urging Governor Brown to sign legislation that would discourage public sector employers from discrimination against formerly incarcerated job seekers. View Petition Here: www.act.colorofchange.org/sign/ban_the_box/ Oakland, CA - Governor Jerry Brown has just a few days to sign legislation (AB 218, Dickinson) that would make it harder for employers to discriminate against formerly incarcerated job seekers.
Currently, job applicants with past convictions must check “the box” indicating they’ve been convicted of a crime, even when the law broken has nothing to do with the position’s requirements. This deeply prejudicial question can mean immediate disqualification from an employment opportunity, or worse, permanent exclusion from the workforce.
Mass incarceration and racial bias have exploded the US prison population over the past three decades. Those unable to enter the job market post-release are more likely to return to prison. This legislation is a chance for California to lead by example and strengthen broader efforts to "ban the box" in all sectors of employment.
Employers routinely toss out applications from job seekers with past convictions before even looking at their qualifications, in violation of federal Equal Employment Opportunity Commission (EEOC) guidelines. Signing "Ban the Box" into law will bring the state into EEOC compliance and ensure employers don't accidentally violate federal civil rights laws by failing to consider job applicants individually.
A state devastated by massive prison spending, where nearly 60 percent of formerly incarcerated people return to prison within three years, should be eager to remove barriers to successful re-entry — especially at a time when California is under federal court order to reduce its inhumanely overcrowded prisons.
Rashad Robinson, Executive Director of ColorOfChange, issued the following statement:
“If California ever hopes to improve prison conditions and reduce costs, it must close the revolving prison door with humane policies like "Ban the Box," ensuring formerly incarcerated job seekers have a fair chance to support their families and interrupt vicious cycles of poverty and recidivism.
“Hiring discrimination based on a criminal record disproportionately harms Black men and the families who depend on them, since bias-based drug law enforcement practices make it nearly six times more likely that a Black man will be arrested, convicted or incarcerated than his white counterpart. Years into the economic "recovery," Black unemployment rates are still sky-high — consistently twice that of white unemployment. With access to jobs such a critical need in our communities, it’s past time for Gov. Brown to remove barriers to gainful employment.” •