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Executive order helps ex-convicts applying for federal jobs

California residents who have criminal records are often discriminated against for their past while they are looking for work. Many employers will ignore applications from ex-convicts regardless of the nature of a job applicant's past crimes or how long ago they were convicted of the crimes. This type of discrimination can create a significant hurdle for ex-convicts who are attempting to reenter society.

A new executive order that was announced by President Obama on Nov. 2 could help ex-convicts who are applying for federal government jobs. President Obama ordered the human resources department for the federal government to delay inquiries about job applicants' criminal histories until later in the hiring process. When criminal record inquiries are delayed, ex-convicts may have a better chance of being hired.

The move by Obama is welcome by proponents of the effort to 'ban the box." Several politicians have called for an end to the box on job applications that asks applicants whether or not they have a criminal record. According to studies, an employer's interest in a job applicant is reduced by an average of 50 percent once the employer knows that the applicant has a criminal record. Interest in white job applicants with criminal backgrounds goes down by 30 percent while interest in black job applicants with criminal backgrounds goes down by 60 percent.

People who believe that they were unfairly discriminated against during a job interview may have a case for filing an employment discrimination claim. While discrimination can be difficult to prove, an attorney may be able to gather enough evidence to build a strong case. An attorney may conduct a thorough investigation into the employer's past hiring decisions in order to uncover evidence of discrimination against a specific type of job candidate.

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