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Bridgeport's Gomes Fights Use Of Criminal Records Against Job Applicants

State Sen. Ed Gomes is supporting a bill that would eliminate the criminal history question from job applications.
State Sen. Ed Gomes is supporting a bill that would eliminate the criminal history question from job applications. Photo Credit: Contributed photo

HARTFORD, Conn. -- State Sen. Ed Gomes (D-Bridgeport) is fighting to reform the state’s policies on hiring job applicants with criminal records.

Testifying in front of the General Assembly’s Judiciary Committee, Gomes recently called for the passage of Senate Bill 467: An Act Concerning Municipal Implementation of Criminal Justice Reforms.

The bill, a set of hiring policies for private employers, is designed to ensure that job applicants are evaluated on the merits of their qualifications – not on criminal records.

“This is an important bill for those with a record to have an opportunity to receive a job,” said Gomes. “A felony conviction too often haunts a person their whole life, preventing them from moving on and joining the workforce. We need to give everyone that is looking for a job a fair shot.”

SB 467, originally known as House Bill 5237: An Act Concerning Fair Chance Employment, was raised by the Labor and Public Employees Committee and passed the committee on March 10 by a vote of 13-0.

The bill would remove the criminal history question from job applications and postpone the background check until a conditional offer is made by the employer.

The bill would also require employers to take into account the age of the offense when making hiring decisions.

Seven states, including Massachusetts and Rhode Island, have extended fair hiring practices to private employers.

The Judiciary Committee deadline for action on the bill is Wednesday, March 30.

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