Philadelphia’s Ban the Box law goes into effect tomorrow. And this Friday the 13th employment law freakathon is sure to be a big hit with small business owners who now have yet another good reason to pull up stakes and cross the city line into the safer and saner suburbs. Better known as the Fair Criminal Screening Standards Ordinance, this piece of petty larceny legislation prohibits employers from asking on their applications or in their first interviews whether applicants have criminal convictions. Instead, employers in Philly will have to wait for the second interview before delving more deeply into an applicant’s criminal past.
The purpose of this downright dopey law is to help those with a criminal past to find employment. Sounds so caring, doesn’t it? In reality, this legislation will do nothing to increase the post-prison chances of ex-cons in need of viable employment. It will however, waste a lot of business time and effort and just create another annoying and expensive hurdle for those who are the lifeblood of the City of Brotherly Love.
Of course, the police department, the prison system, and the Philadelphia courts are exempt from this newest nuisance law. It’s interesting though that schools and daycare centers are not exempt. Gee, why would the guardians of little girls and boys need to quickly screen out convicted perverts from their pool of applicants? Now that’s a head scratcher.
Considering that 20% of the Philadelphia population have criminal records, Ban the Box is just another way for the Democrats to pander to their base.