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art by Favianna Rodriguez

Art by Favianna Rodriguez

“ Washing one’s hands of the conflict between the powerful and the powerless means to side with the powerful, not to be neutral. ” – Paulo Freire, Educator

Pres. Obama can stop federal job discrimination

Here's the message we sent to our members. After you've read it, please add your voice.

Formerly incarcerated Latinos deserve a fair chance at employment.

Tell President Obama to "Ban the Box” on all federal employment applications.

Dear Friend,

President Obama can take immediate action against employment discrimination that formerly incarcerated individuals face — opening up much needed employment opportunities for these qualified job seekers. Through executive order, the President can “Ban the Box” and end the federal government’s legacy of illegal employment discrimination.1 But for President Obama to do what's right, he'll need to hear from people across the country demanding fair hiring practices and equal opportunity for all.

Will you urge the President to remove unfair barriers to re-entry for formerly incarcerated job seekers?

Forcing applicants to check a box disclosing prior conviction history in the first stage of the job application process extends the harmful impact of mass incarceration throughout a person's life. Formerly incarcerated job seekers can and want to get back to work, and they deserve the promise of a fresh start, which is also an effective way to interrupt vicious cycles of recidivism and poverty.2 And Ban the Box policies still allow a criminal background check for qualified applicants later in the hiring process, once the applicant is given a fair review.

Hiring questions about criminal records harm Black, Latin@, Asian, and Native communities the most because of the disproportionately higher rates of arrests and convictions that people of color endure.3 An estimated 70 million Americans—one in three adults in the United States—has a record that will show up on a background check. This, coupled with requirements to disclose arrests and convictions from the start of the application process, creates a serious barrier to employment for millions of workers, especially in communities of color hardest hit by decades of over-criminalization.4

Tell President Obama to end the federal government's employment discrimination against formerly incarcerated people.

Laws to Ban the Box asking about criminal history on employment applications are sweeping the country. Currently, 19 states and more than 100 cities have passed laws or enacted policies to provide a fair chance at employment for formerly incarcerated job seekers.5 And these policies don’t just apply to state and local government as employers; nearly half of those states include policies that bar private businesses from asking about a job applicant’s prior arrest or conviction history.

As President Obama talks about reforming the criminal justice system, and giving ex-offenders a second chance, the Obama Administration can use its authority to ensure a fair chance at employment for every person seeking a job with federal government agencies and the companies it contracts with. And a federal-level Ban the Box policy would create a groundswell of support for enacting this common sense policy everywhere.

Tell the President: Make sure federal agencies Ban the Box.

Thanks and ¡adelante!

– Matt, Favianna, Oscar, Erick, and the Presente.org team.

P.S. Can you donate $5 to support our work? We rely on contributions from people like you to see campaigns like this through.

Sources:
1. “Consideration of Arrest and Conviction Records in Employment Decisions Under Title VII of the Civil Rights Act of 1964”, Equal Employment Opportunities Commission, April 25, 2012.
2. "A Job Can Help Stop Prison's Revolving Door", Huffington Post, September 30, 2013. 
3. "U.S. Push on Illegal Bias Against Hiring Those With Criminal Records", New York Times, June 20, 2012.
4. "Advancing a federal fair chance hiring agenda", National Employment Law Project, January 20, 2015. 
5. “Ban The Box: U.S. Cities, Counties, And States Adopt Fair Hiring Policies”, National Employment Law Project, July 1, 2015.