Gomes Testifies on the Need for Fair Chance Employment
Today, Senator Ed Gomes (D-Bridgeport) continued his advocacy for reforming Connecticut’s policies around hiring applicants with a criminal record. Testifying in front of the General Assembly’s Judiciary Committee, Sen. Gomes called for the passage of Senate Bill 467: An Act Concerning Municipal Implementation of Criminal Justice Reforms.
The bill is a set of hiring policies for private employers, designed to ensure that applicants with criminal records are evaluated on the merits of their qualifications, not on their criminal records.
“This is an important bill for those with a record to have an opportunity to receive a job,” said Sen. Gomes. “A felony conviction too often haunts a person their whole life preventing them from moving on and joining the workforce. We need to give everyone that is looking for a job a fair shot.”
SB 467, originally known as House Bill 5237: An Act Concerning Fair Chance Employment, was raised by the Labor and Public Employees Committee and passed the committee on March 10 by a vote of 13-0.
The bill would incorporate “ban the box” policies, which remove the criminal history question from job applications and postpone the background check until a conditional offer is made by the employer. The bill would also require employers to take into account the age of the offense when making hiring decisions.
Research shows that once an employer has examined the qualifications of a job applicant, the applicant is more likely to be hired.
Seven states, including Massachusetts and Rhode Island, have extended fair hiring practices to private employers.
The Judiciary Committee deadline for action on the bill is March 30.