|January 3, 2023 11:32 AM
|Representative Darisha K. Parker
|All House members
|Fair Criminal Record Screening Act
|Roughly 1 in 3 adult Americans have some sort of criminal record. To put this in context, according to the Brennan Center for Justice, as many Americans have criminal records as college diplomas. Having a criminal record makes it significantly more difficult to obtain housing, job placements, or public benefits.
All too often, otherwise qualified individuals are not considered for employment because they have a criminal record. Many of these offenses are unrelated to the job in question, are non-violent in nature, or occurred in adolescence. While both federal and state law offer some protections in this area, it is clear that more needs to be done to give these job seekers, as well as those currently employed, a second chance by removing unfair roadblocks to economic stability. Not only is this good for job seekers, but it is also good for employers who might overlook otherwise qualified individuals because of a mistake made years ago.
Pennsylvania has taken several steps in the right direction in the area of criminal justice reform in recent years, and my legislation, entitled the Fair Criminal Record Screening Act, continues this trend. This bill will better protect individuals currently employed as well as those applying for open positions who have criminal records through several important changes. First, it will prohibit employers from inquiring about or using information related to a job applicant’s or current employee’s juvenile or summary offenses, cases that did not result in convictions, and cases that were expunged or pardoned when determining an individual’s suitability for employment. Second, my legislation contains specific factors for employers to consider when determining whether an individual’s past criminal record relates to their current position or a position they have applied for. Lastly, it requires enforcement by the Department of Labor and Industry and sets forth penalties for violations.
This legislation is a win-win for employees and employers alike. Unsurprisingly, several other states and local jurisdictions have similar laws on the books. It is past time Pennsylvania joins their ranks. I ask my colleagues to join me in supporting our economy as well as Pennsylvanians who deserve a second chance.
Introduced as HB1181