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Austin is the First City in Texas to ‘Ban the Box’

Austin has become the first city in Texas to pass the Fair Chance Hiring Ordinance. The ordinance is a new legislation that has been enacted in major cities such as Portland, Oregon and New York City along with cities in 17 different states. Essentially the new rule will eliminate employers that fit the criteria from being able to run criminal background checks on prospective employees or ask questions about criminal history during the interview process. It will only be until an employment offer is made to the individual before the company can research criminal history.

How Does the Fair Chances Hiring Ordinance Affect You?

If your company is based in Austin or this legislation comes to your city, it is important to know how it applies to you. Here is a quick rundown of the rules:

  • Ordinance applies to a person, company, corporation, firm, labor organization, or association that employs at least fifteen people whose work location is in the city for more than 20 weeks in the calendar year.
  • The ordinance applies to an agency acting on behalf of an employer
  • The ordinance covers temporary, seasonal work, contract/contingent employment, work through a temporary agency, and vocational, apprenticeship, or educational training programs.
  • The ordinance is excluded if you work for the United States, the state or any state agencies

Despite the unorthodox nature of this ordinance for some companies, they still have the power to not hire somebody after a criminal background check. After making their initial employment offer they will be granted the right to rescind the offer in light of their findings.

If you are looking for more information on places that have been in favor of “Ban the Box” we posted an article back in February showing the rapid progress of the new legislation. What do you think will this be a good policy if it spreads further in Texas?

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