Late last month, President Trump signed the Fair Chance Act, which prohibits federal agencies and federal contractors from asking about job applicants' criminal history until after making a conditional employment offer. That makes federal contractors and the federal government the latest to join the growing "Ban the Box" movement across the country as 35 states, the District of Columbia, and over 150 cities and counties now have ban the box policies. The bipartisan bill authored by U.S. Senators Cory Booker (D-NJ) and Ron Johnson (R-WI) was part of the Fiscal Year 2020 National Defense Authorization Act (NDAA).
Key Takeaway for Federal Contractors
The Act becomes effective on December 20, 2021, so federal employers and federal contractors have plenty of time to comply. Once effective, they will be prohibited from asking about the criminal history of job applicants before a conditional offer of employment is made. After the conditional offer to an applicant, an employer may begin to conduct a criminal background check, thereby ensuring that a criminal record is not an undue barrier to getting a job.