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9/22/2017 Rep. Slater and Sen. Ciccone’s bill that strengthens ‘ban the box’ legislation passes General Assembly
STATE HOUSE – Rep. Scott A. Slater (D-Dist. 10, Providence) and Sen. Frank A. Ciccone’s (D-Dist. 7, Providence, North Providence) legislation (2017-H 6141A / 2017-S 1029) that would give the Department of Labor and Training (DLT) the jurisdiction to review claims alleging that employers had improperly inquired about an applicant’s criminal history on an employment application was passed by the General Assembly this week.

“This provides further basic protections from discrimination for people with a criminal record and gives these people trying to reintegrate into society a path for recourse if potential employers break the law and discriminate against the applicant for their past mistakes,” said Representative Slater.  “Banning the box gives individuals seeking a job a chance to be considered on their qualifications, not immediately rejected from consideration because of a wrong decision in their past for which they have paid their debt to society.”

“People make mistakes in their lives.  But, if we don’t give them a chance to recognize and correct these mistakes, they will be trapped in an endless cycle without the ability to be productive members of our society.  This legislation will help those who truly are rehabilitated and want nothing more than to be honest and upstanding citizens,” said Senator Ciccone.

The legislation would give the director of DLT the power to investigate, inspect, subpoena, and enforce, through administrative hearing complaints, any allegation that an employer has included on any application for employment a question inquiring as to whether the applicant has ever been arrested, charged with, or convicted of any crime.  Exceptions to the law would be for any applications for law enforcement or related law enforcement positions.

“Ban the box” legislation (2013-H 5507A), also sponsored by Representative Slater, was passed by the General Assembly and signed into law by Governor Lincoln Chafee in 2013.  The law provides that potential employers can only be allowed to probe a job applicant’s criminal background at the first personal interview following the application process, and any time thereafter. The law applies to employers with at least four employees.

The law also provides exceptions to that rule in certain cases: if a federal or state law or regulation creates a mandatory or presumptive disqualification based on a person’s conviction of one or more specified criminal offenses, or if a fidelity bond is required and an individual’s conviction of one or more specified offenses could prevent obtaining such a bond.

The bill now heads to the governor for consideration.

For more information, contact:
Andrew Caruolo, Publicist
State House Room 20
Providence, RI 02903