Change in Louisiana Higher Ed Law Highlights Immediate Need for Pre-Employment Background Screening Policy Review; States CriminalBackgroundRecords.com

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Louisiana's governor signed that state's ban-the-box legislation requiring the elimination of the question of criminal history on all applications utilized for admission into institutions of higher education. Adam Almeida, President and CEO of CriminalBackgroundRecords.com offers an opinion: "The action by the governor of Louisiana highlights the ever changing legal landscape covering the use of criminal records in hiring, and should put every hiring manager on notice to review their current pre-employment background screening policies in order to remain fully compliant with existing and potential law."

Criminal Background Records

Criminal Background Records

The move by Louisiana is significant as it demonstrates a willingness to dramatically change law, in this case those governing the question of criminal history on a College application and the use of criminal history reports during the hiring process.

The governor of Louisiana signed ban-the-box legislation that eliminated the question of criminal history from all applications of entrance for institutions of higher learning. Adam Almeida, President and CEO of CriminalBackgroundRecords.com states: "This is a significant move insomuch it further reminds all hiring managers about the ever changing legal environment regarding the use of criminal background records and once again points to the immediate and urgent need for all background screening policies to be fully complaint with existing and potential law."

The ban-the-box movement has spread across the country and has focused, primarily, in public/private hiring. With the new law in Louisiana, ban-the-box has entered firmly into the realm of higher education, at a statewide level.

From InsideHigherEd.com (Jun. 19, 17):

The movement to “ban the box” is often touted as a way to help ex-convicts find employment after incarceration. If employers, or states, get rid of the box on a job application where they ask about previous criminal history, that history won’t prevent people who have served their time from reintegrating into society, the argument goes.

Louisiana's governor signed the state's own ban-the-box law earlier on Friday, this time prohibiting state higher-education institutions from inquiring about a potential student’s criminal history during the application process. (1)

Almeida opines: "The move by Louisiana is significant as it demonstrates a willingness to dramatically change law, in this case those governing the question of criminal history on an application as well as the subsequent use of criminal history reports during the hiring process. Every single hiring manager should be on alert to review their current policies in order to ensure full compliance with existing law and plan for changes in law."

Laws governing the question of criminal history on college and university applications on a localized basis is not new. In 2016 the State University of NY voted to pull the question of criminal history from the system's application process.

From InsideHirerEd.com (Sep. 15, 16):

The State University of New York board voted Wednesday to remove from the 64-campus system's application a question asking applicants to declare prior felony convictions.

At the same time, the system will ask some of those admitted, post admission, for that information. Admitted applicants will have to answer the question if they seek campus housing or to participate in certain clinical or field experiences, internships, or study abroad. (2)

Almeida concludes: "Ultimately any significant change such as the one in Louisiana should command hiring managers to review their current hiring policies. A best practice is to work with a well-qualified third-party employment screening agency, one well versed in compliance of local, state, and federal law."

CriminalBackgroundRecords.com is a third-party background screening company that provides critical information to employers and organizations large and small including Universities. With the ability to provide up-to-date criminal background checks from County Courthouses to accessing the most accurate databases, CriminalBackgroundRecords.com has the information hiring managers demand in order to make an informed decision.

Notes:
(1)    insidehighered.com/quicktakes/2017/06/19/louisiana-becomes-first-state-ban-box
(2)    insidehighered.com/news/2016/09/15/suny-removes-question-criminal-convictions-application

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