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Pennsylvania Ban the Box Policy Will Apply to State Jobs

Pennsylvania Governor Tom Wolf has announced that state agencies will “Ban the Box” under his new Fair-Chance hiring policy, removing criminal history questions from non-civil service employment applications for agencies under his jurisdiction.



This new policy will take effect July 1, 2017. The Office of Administration will provide guidance and training to agencies prior to implementation and believes the policy will be fully underway by December 2017.

“In Pennsylvania, we have a robust system of supervision and rehabilitative services that gives reentrants to the community all the tools they need to put their lives back on track, get the skills they need to get a job, and get moving again. But too often, one small checkmark can jeopardize the future that we all need them to pursue and reach,” Governor Wolf said. “Banning the box will allow prospective applicants with criminal records to be judged on their skills and qualifications and not solely on their criminal history, while preserving a hiring agency’s ability to appropriately screen applicants as part of the hiring process,” the Governor said.

This excerpt is taken directly from Pennsylvania’s new Ban the Box Policy:

The Secretary of the Office of Administration hereby establishes, and Commonwealth agencies shall implement and maintain, a fair-chance hiring policy that removes the criminal history question from the commonwealth’s employment application, based on the following:

  • Consideration of arrests not leading to a conviction; annulled, expunged, or pardoned convictions; convictions for summary offenses; and convictions that do not relate to an applicant’s suitability for Commonwealth employment is prohibited.
  • In making hiring decisions, the hiring entity shall consider the public interest of ensuring access to employment for individuals with criminal records.
  • This HR Policy shall not affect positions in which a criminal conviction makes an applicant ineligible under law.
  • This HR Policy also shall not apply to employment positions responsible for the safeguarding or security of people or property, law enforcement, or those involving contact with vulnerable populations.
  • All departments, agencies, boards, commissions, and councils shall utilize the online job application system as required by ITPBUS008. No department, agency, board, commission, or council shall utilize its own job application form or questionnaire, unless such form or questionnaire is approved by the Secretary of the Office of Administration.”

The entire policy can be viewed in PDF format here.

According to the governor’s news release, “exceptions to the policy will be made for positions where a criminal conviction makes an applicant ineligible under law and for positions responsible for the safeguarding or security of people or property, law enforcement or those involving contact with vulnerable populations. Agencies are to continue to use the EEOC guidelines in determining whether an applicant’s criminal history affects their candidacy for the position they are seeking.”

Ban the Box refers to removing the box on job applications that applicants must check indicating that have prior criminal convictions. The purpose is to prevent a person’s criminal history from being the first thing considered so they can be judged by their experience, skills & abilities.

Ban the Box policies exist in California, Colorado, Connecticut, Delaware, Georgia, Hawaii, Illinois, Kentucky, Louisiana, Maryland, Massachusetts, Minnesota, Missouri, Nebraska, New Jersey, New Mexico, New York, Ohio, Oklahoma, Oregon, Rhode Island, Tennessee, Utah, Vermont, Virginia, and Wisconsin.

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