RI bill would ban criminal record job questions

Rhode Island bill would prohibit employers from asking applicants about criminal record

Associated Press

PROVIDENCE, R.I. (AP) -- Employers in Rhode Island would no longer be able to ask job applicants about criminal convictions under legislation pending in the General Assembly.

Sen. Harold Metts said Wednesday that his bill would eliminate a discriminatory practice that costs too many ex-offenders a chance at employment.

The Providence Democrat was joined at a Statehouse press conference by men who said convictions continue to affect their job prospects long after their sentences ended. Jay Parker, who now works at the Rhode Island Convention Center, says he has been denied jobs because of two nearly 20-year-old drug convictions.

The proposal wouldn't apply to jobs at casinos, hospitals, schools or nursing homes, where background checks are required by law.

Cities including Boston and Providence already prohibit criminal background questions from applications for public-sector jobs.

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