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Monday, March 2, 2020

This company is hiring without asking about candidates’ backgrounds — here’s why

Originally published on CNBCKarina Hernandez
Wed, Feb 26 2020

Inquiries into your criminal background are standard when filling out a job application. But for folks who have experienced life behind bars, their prospects of getting hired are cut in half, hindering their ability to settle back into society.

 The Body ShopThe Body Shop, the cosmetics brand from the United Kingdom, wants to lend a helping hand for marginalized people struggling to get a job. This summer, the company will implement “open hiring” — a hiring process that employs anyone on a first-come first-serve basis without asking about criminal and educational backgrounds — in all of its North American stores. The Body Shop claims it is the first retailer to do so in the United States.

“For us it’s not about filling roles and hiring more people,” said Andrea Blieden, the U.S. general manager for The Body Shop. “This is about setting an example as a brand about how this can be a force for good and fight injustices in society that exist, like unequal access to employment.”

How ‘open hiring’ began

The concept of open hiring is often credited to Greyston Bakery, which was established in 1982 in Yonkers, New York. People can sign up for a job at the factory and are immediately hired once a position becomes available.

New hires go through an apprenticeship program to learn the job’s duties and basic life skills. Completion of the apprenticeship leads to an entry-level position with Greyston Bakery, which supplies Ben & Jerry’s with brownies and sells its own brownies at Whole Foods.

Lucas Tanner, chief operating officer of Greyston Bakery, considers the hiring practice to be revolutionary. “We profoundly believe that open hiring, even though it’s a simple idea and it’s an extraordinary idea, can change the world,” said Tanner.

Open hiring can also change lives. Arthur, 50, had been in and out of prison since he was 16 years old, and his criminal record affected his chances of obtaining a steady job. “So many people judge you by your background and mistakes you did in your past,” he said. “They will slam the door on you right away.”

But 19 months ago, Greyston Bakery took a chance on Arthur. He was immediately hired after patiently waiting eight months to land an interview with the company. “I wasn’t judged,” said Arthur. “Right off the bat I was given an opportunity.”

Oftentimes, companies ask Tanner whether the new hires are ever violent. He said that is a misconception of open hiring. “We’ve never witnessed that,” said Tanner.

Starting ‘open hiring’ with larger employers

In 2018, the company launched the Center for Open Hiring to aid other businesses in adopting similar practices. One of their clients is The Body Shop.

In September 2019, Greyston helped the company transform its North Carolina distribution center into a pilot program. Background checks and educational requirements were removed for the 208 seasonal workers hired at the distribution center. Only three questions were asked during the application process: “Are you authorized to work in the United States?,” “Can you stand for up to eight hours?” and “Can you lift over 50 pounds?”

Since the start of the program, the company saw a 60% decline in employee turnover in 2019 compared to 2018. These results convinced The Body Shop to take this initiative to its stores, in hopes of giving a second chance to marginalized communities, like formerly incarcerated people.

A 2018 report by the Prison Policy Initiative found that 27% of ex-offenders are unemployed, compared to just 5.2% of the general population. Those who have earnings when released from prison earn less than a full-time worker earning minimum wage.

“All of these barriers that come into people’s way can be lessened when someone has some independence,” said Han Lu, a policy analyst at National Employment Law Project, “which is usually found in a salary or a wage.”

In a time when employers are voicing concerns over a labor shortage, Lu believes it’s an opportunity for employers to take the lead and abandon criminal background checks. “Workers with records tend to be more reliable and can have less turnover,” explained Lu. “It’s a place where employers can have a big impact in the communities that they exist in.”

The Body Shop sees the potential in this untapped population. “You are expanding your employment opportunities and you are giving people a chance they might have not had,” said Blieden, “and the goal would be that you have less employees turn.”

Formerly incarcerated employees perform as well or better, studies show

Prior studies explain the benefits for an employer when hiring people with a criminal background. In a study of military members, experts found that among 1.3 million ex-felons in the military, those with a criminal record performed as well or better than those with no record.Often times, ex-felons were promoted faster to higher ranks.

In 2016, John Hopkins Hospital shared results of a five-year study on 500 ex-offenders it hired. There was a lower turnover rate in the first 40 months, compared to non-offenders.

But not everyone is on board with these types of hiring practices. Opponents say ex-offender friendly initiatives, like “ban the box” or “fair chance hiring,” come along with unintended consequences. Initiatives like “ban the box” or “fair chance hiring” differ slightly from “open hiring” because applicants still deal with the typical job application process, but any questions regarding criminal history are removed. In contrast, people are automatically hired through open hiring without a formal job application or interview.

A study claims that when criminal history information is removed during the hiring process, it can actually lead to an “increase of statistical discrimination against demographic groups that include more ex-offenders,” like black and Latino men, because of the assumption that they are more likely to possess a criminal record. These findings have been disputed by economists.

The movement for inclusive hiring gained some momentum in December 2019 when President Donald Trump signed the Fair Chance Act as part of the 2020 National Defense Authorization Act. Federal agencies and contractors will be barred from inquiring about criminal records before a job offer. It will take effect at the end of 2021.

Just like the federal government, Andrea Blieden hopes other companies join The Body Shop to take a chance on those who have been locked out of the labor market. “We take chances every single day at work, in life,” said Blieden, “and this is probably one of the best chances that we have taken, and we’re really excited about it.”

This company is hiring without asking about candidates’ backgrounds — here’s why

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This company is hiring without asking about candidates’ backgrounds — here’s why

Eric Mayo

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Monday, February 24, 2020

Understanding how records can be sealed

Originally published on Feb 23, 2020
Joann Sahl AND Russell Nicholls
Herald Star

Eligible offenders convicted of certain types of crimes can ask the court to expunge, or seal, their convictions. If the court seals a conviction, that conviction is no longer in the public record. Courts seal records so that eligible offenders can move on with their lives without the stigma of a criminal conviction.

Qualifying for sealing

An eligible offender is someone who has no more than five felony convictions. An eligible offender may have unlimited misdemeanor convictions. When a court determines if you are eligible for sealing, it will not consider minor misdemeanors and most convictions for possession of marijuana (which is generally a minor misdemeanor). The court also will not consider most minor traffic offenses, but it will consider convictions for OVIs and DUIs.

Most misdemeanors, fourth and fifth-degree felonies, and in some instances a third-degree felony, can be sealed unless a criminal statute specifically states that a particular crime is not eligible.

Though the court will not consider minor traffic offenses when determining if you are an eligible offender, traffic offenses, including OVIs/DUIs, cannot be sealed. Additionally, you cannot seal first- and second-degree felonies, and any felony with a mandatory prison sentence. Finally, almost all crimes of violence, sex crimes and offenses where the victim was under 16 years old cannot be sealed. However, first-degree misdemeanor assault and domestic violence menacing, a fourth-degree misdemeanor, can be sealed in some circumstances.

How to apply for sealing

You may apply for sealing if one year has passed since your sentence ended for a misdemeanor. If you have one felony, you have to wait three years after your felony sentence ends. For two felonies, the waiting period is four years, and for three to five felonies, you must wait five years after your last felony sentence ended. In addition, the waiting period generally does not begin until you pay any restitution you might owe, as well as fines.

Your request for sealing should be filed in the court where you were sentenced. Once you apply, the court will set a hearing date. The probation department will usually investigate your case and prepare a report for the court to use to determine whether you are an eligible offender. The prosecutor may challenge the sealing request by filing an objection before the hearing date.

The court will determine if you have been rehabilitated, and it will weigh your interest in clearing your name against the government’s need to allow public access to your records. The court will review the probation report to see how you have behaved since the conviction. The decision whether to seal your record is up to the judge.

It is important to know that the court will not automati cally seal your case if it was dismissed, you were found not guilty or if the grand jury issued a “no bill” and refused to indict you. You must follow the procedure outlined in this article to get records sealed. There is no waiting period to file for sealing a dismissal or a not guilty verdict. A person may apply to have a “no bill” sealed two years after it is filed.

Access to sealed records

In some situations, the law allows certain employers and state agencies to access your sealed record.

Examples include if you want to care for an older adult, work for a children’s services agency, work for a bank or want to work as a police or corrections officer.

If you apply for a state vocational license, the licensing agency also may be able to see your sealed record. In addition, the police may be able to access your sealed record as part of a criminal case or investigation or if you are seeking a concealed carry permit.

People might also be able to find out about your conviction online. There are many private background check companies, as well as news articles, that may have information about your criminal case. Those organizations will not receive notice that your conviction has been sealed. Once the court seals your record, you should try to notify any organization that has a record of your conviction. It is important to remember that potential employers may use these companies to perform pre-employment background checks, and your conviction could still appear on a background check.

How an attorney can help

It can be complicated to determine if you are eligible to have your criminal record sealed. It requires a review of all of your convictions, even those in other states, and the appropriate law. An attorney can look at your criminal record to help you decide if you are eligible to have your record sealed.

(Sahl is the assistant director of the University of Akron Legal Clinic. Nichols is the director of the Expungement Clinic and the Inmate Assistance program at the University of Akron Law School. The column was written as part of the Ohio State Bar Association’s Law You Can Use series.)

Understanding how records can be sealed

 Companies that hire felons

Sealing a Criminal Record

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Understanding how records can be sealed

Eric Mayo

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Friday, January 10, 2020

Relocating Felon needs a Job

Relocating Felon needs a Job

I have a brother that has relocated to MD from NY. He has felonies in NY that are not felonies in this location. Do you have any tips or organizations that he may be able to try?

Thanks in advance.


Relocating Felon needs a Job


Just a little insight, a felony in one state does not downgrade in another state.  I'm not sure where your brother lives in Maryland, but the Maryland Dept. of Labor provides many services for the unemployed. Ex-offenders and felons can get info on available jobs and other valuable services. You can get more information here:

You can get information on available jobs, writing a resume or connections to training that could lead to a new career.

Also take a look at this page.  You will find a huge list of employers who will offer ex-offenders and felons a fair chance at job opportunities.  You can also search for open jobs in your local area and even sign up to have job openings sent to you:  Jobs for Felons

Jobs for Ex-offenders and Felons: Where can Ex-offenders Find Jobs

Jobs for Ex-offenders and Felons: Ten Steps to Getting a Job with a Criminal Record

Companies that Hire Ex-offenders and Felons

Companies Hire Felons | Companies That Hire Felons | Companies That Hire Ex-offenders | Employers That Hire Ex-offenders | Employers That Hire Felons | Jobs For Felons | Jobs For Ex-offenders | Jobs That Hire Felons | Resumes for Felons | Felon Friendly Jobs | Felon Friendly Employers | Jobs for Felons | Jobs For People That Have Felonies | Jobs For People With A Criminal Record | Fair Chance Jobs | Second Chance Jobs for Felons    

Relocating Felon needs a Job

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Tuesday, January 7, 2020

Felon needs I.D. to get a Job

Felon needs I.D. to get a Job

Felon needs I.D. to get a JobHi,

My brother in law just got out 20 days ago after 3 1/2 years. He was convicted when he was 19 and he's now 23. He was convicted for accessory to murder and possession of an unregistered gun. He's been having a lot of trouble finding a job in Orange County, CA.

He's gone to many open interviews, and things seem to be great until they see that he a felony on his record. I've done some searching online and it shows that trucking companies will hire an ex-felon, but he's having so much trouble getting an ID that he doesn't even know about a Driver's License. He's tried going to his PO, but the PO doesn't seem to be much help or want to try and help.

He no longer has his birth certificate or SSC, so the DMV told him to get an official letter head from his PO and they would be able to issue him an ID, but his PO refuses to do this.

Felon needs I.D. to get a Job


As far as his probation officer refusing to help him, his P.O. has a boss so he may have to go over his head for a little help.  Her may be able to help him get a birth certificate also.  I know parole officers who do this everyday.

This is often a dilemma for ex-offenders and felons job searching. Under the federal Immigration Reform and Control Act, newly hired employees must present documentation that they are authorized to work in the United States.  You will need three forms of identification to legally work in the United States.

Social Security Card

If do not have your Social Security card, you can get a duplicate car at your local Social Security office.  Below is a link to the application for a replacement cards along with instructions.

Birth Certificate

To obtain a copy of your birth certificate, contact the office of vital statistics in the city where you were born.

Valid Driver’s License

To obtain a copy of your driver’s license, contact your local motor vehicle agency.  It is listed in your local telephone directory.  Some motor vehicle agencies may even offer “Identification Only” cards if you do not have a driver’s license.

Photo Identification

Many county agencies provide photo identification cards.

Green Card (if necessary)

To obtain copies of your alien registration card contact the office of Immigration and Naturalization.  You can information about the process of renewing or replacing your green card here: Green Card Replacement Application Process

Check out this huge list of employers that offer opportunities to ex-offender and felons looking for jobs: Jobs for Felons

Jobs for Ex-offenders and Felons: Where can Ex-offenders Find Jobs

Jobs for Ex-offenders and Felons: Ten Steps to Getting a Job with a Criminal Record

I hope this helps.

Felon needs I.D. to get a Job

Companies Hire Felons | Companies That Hire Felons | Companies That Hire Ex-offenders | Employers That Hire Ex-offenders | Employers That Hire Felons | Jobs For Felons | Jobs For Ex-offenders | Jobs That Hire Felons | Resumes for Felons | Felon Friendly Jobs | Felon Friendly Employers | Jobs for Felons | Jobs For People That Have Felonies | Jobs For People With A Criminal Record | Fair Chance Jobs | Second Chance Jobs for Felons  

Felon needs I.D. to get a Job

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Thursday, December 19, 2019

Felon with deferred conviction wants job advice

Felon with deferred conviction wants job advice


I found your web page to be informational and also motivational. I was charged with theft and it is deferred I have not completed my probation, but my question is when I complete the probation and finish paying all my fines. I am wondering if it make sense at all to go back to school to become an ADN, LVN or counselor. I am wonder if these jobs will hire me with this charge. Or would you send me some information about expungement. Would that apply for me and how should I go about it.

Thank you for your help in advance. I have applied for so many jobs. I can't count and I get turned down time and time again.



Felon with deferred conviction wants job advice

Hello Melinda,

Generally speaking, when the terms of deferred sentences are met (in most cases, a fine and probation,) charges are formally dropped. If you are unsure of the terms, you should contact the prosecutor assigned to your case.

Once the terms are met, there will be no conviction simply a dropped charge. In most cases, employers are only interested in convictions. If there are provisions in your state for expungement or sealing, it won't hurt to apply for it. Many ex-offenders and felons looking for jobs need legal help. Contact your local legal aid office to find out if this is an option for you.

I hope this helps.

  Jobs for Ex-offenders and Felons: Employment Background Checks: Know Your Rights

Jobs for ex-offenders and Felons: Expungement of Criminal Records

Felon with deferred conviction wants job advice

Companies Hire Felons | Companies That Hire Felons | Companies That Hire Ex-offenders | Employers That Hire Ex-offenders | Employers That Hire Felons | Jobs For Felons | Jobs For Ex-offenders | Jobs That Hire Felons | Resumes for Felons | Felon Friendly Jobs | Felon Friendly Employers | Jobs for Felons | Jobs For People That Have Felonies | Jobs For People With A Criminal Record | Fair Chance Jobs | Second Chance Jobs for Felons | deferred conviction

Felon with deferred conviction wants job advice

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