Quietly and without fanfare, "Ban the Box 2.0" was signed into law yesterday. The original legislation, which banned Philly-based employers from inquiring about criminal convictions on job applications or during initial interviews, has been amended and places significantly more restrictions on employers.
Under the revised law, introduced by City Councilman Curtis Jones, employers will no longer be permitted to inquire about criminal history after the initial interview. They will only be able to ask about convictions after a conditional offer of employment has been made. In addition, employers will no longer be allowed to ask or research an applicant's criminal history beyond the last seven years, excluding any time spend in jail.
This law has been heralded as an "anti-poverty bill," with the verkakte logic that it will help former criminals gets work.
Too bad there won't be any employers to give them the jobs.
This is just another draconian law that will make it more difficult and expensive to do business in Philadelphia. It will threaten economic growth and private-sector job creation.
You see, employers have an absolute right to know if you've murdered, raped or assaulted someone – whether it was in the past seven years or even 20 years ago. Lots of people deserve a second chance, but if you're applying to be a bathroom janitor, it's very relevant to know if you've committed a violent crime.
Not surprisingly, the law has an exception for law enforcement. It's not okay to waste their time and money, but it's okay to waste the time of private human resources departments? This legislation stinks of hypocrisy.