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President Orders OPM to “Ban the Box” on Federal Job Applications

Speaking at an event this week in New Jersey on criminal justice reform efforts, President Obama announced a forthcoming executive action to “ban the box” for federal job applicants.

The President has directed the Office of Personnel Management (OPM) to modify hiring rules to delay inquiries into the criminal history of applicants until later in the hiring process.

“While most agencies already have taken this step, this action will better ensure that applicants from all segments of society, including those with prior criminal histories, receive a fair opportunity to compete for Federal employment,” a White House summary of the reform initiatives states.

New Jersey Senator Cory Booker (D) praised the President’s action, citing legislation, the Fair Chance Act (S. 2021) he sponsored with Homeland Security and Governmental Affairs Committee Chairman Ron Johnson (R-WI). Companion legislation (H.R. 3470) was sponsored in the House by Reps. Elijah Cummings (D-MD) and Darrell Issa (R-CA).

The Senate bill has been approved by committee and awaits a vote in the full Senate, while the House bill has not yet received attention.

"It is relevant to find out whether somebody has a criminal record. We're not suggesting ignore it," Obama said, according to USA Today. "What we are suggesting is that when it comes to the application, give folks a chance to get through the door. Give them a chance to get in there so they can make their case."

 

 

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