Law will bar employers from asking about criminal past

    Philadelphia Mayor Michael Nutter is expected to sign legislation Monday prohibiting employers from asking prospective workers about criminal histories on job applications.

    Professor Jessica Henry of Montclair State University said the Philadelphia law is uncharted territory because it covers private businesses and not just government jobs.

    “It is not just limited to the city of Philadelphia and people who contract with the city of Philadelphia, but also to private employers that exist within the boundaries of the city of Philadelphia and that is unique,” she said.

    Henry said it will be difficult to track how effective the regulation is in helping ex-cons find employment.

    “Hopefully, the strength of the initial interview will enable the prospective employer to reach out and get further clarification about the context of the conviction but if that person isn’t hired it will be difficult to establish clarification as to why they weren’t hired,” she said.

    Employers are allowed to ask about criminal history after the initial interview and if the job requires a criminal background check.

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