Nevada lawmakers want to put the brakes on mandatory background checks for certain employees. We’ve covered several stories here on the ARS blog about states pushing for more background checks, but this is one of the first times we’ve blogged about lawmakers wanting to prohibit the screening of employees. This begs the question: why does Nevada want to stop employment background checks?
According to the Associated Press (AP), Nevada democrats are sponsoring a new bill that would prohibit background checks from being conducted on job applicants for government positions until the job is offered. American politician and Democratic member of the Nevada Assembly Tyrone Thompson is sponsoring AB 348, citing the need for reform. If passed, AB 348 would allow individuals to apply for state and local job positions in Nevada without revealing their criminal background and prohibit employers from conducting background checks until they offer the applicant a job.
It’s estimated that more than 70 million Americans have some type of criminal background, meaning roughly 1 in 5 adults in the U.S. have a criminal history. If Nevada — or any other state for that matter — denied job applicants for having a criminal history, it could have devastating effects on the job market and economy. Thompson hopes to change this with AB 348, placing restricts on government employers that conduct criminal background checks on job applicants.
Thompson said the bill would make it easier for people with a criminal history to find work in the state of Nevada. Most employers automatically turn a blind eye to applicants with a criminal history, resulting in the applicant going back to a life of crime. With AB 348, however, people with criminal backgrounds will have a second chance at turning their lives around and finding work. The bill is part of a larger nationwide effort to reform hiring practices for applicants with a criminal history. Known as “Ban The Box,” lawmakers throughout the country are pushing to eliminate questions about past convictions from job applications (e.g. Have you ever been convicted of a felony?).
AB 348 would also lay out new regulations for employers whom deny applicants with a criminal background. If an employer chooses to deny an applicant based on his or her criminal history, the employer must consider the time between the crime and job application and whether or not the applicant has undergone any rehabilitation efforts.
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