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House Bill Would Eliminate Criminal Background Questions on Job Applications

Posted at 6:35 PM, Nov 15, 2013
and last updated 2013-11-15 18:59:10-05

LANSING, Mich. — A new bill introduced in the Michigan State Legislature would make it illegal for an employer to ask an applicant about their criminal background on the initial application form.

Employers would be allowed to conduct a background check once they move forward with the hiring process.

The bill allows for a job seeker to sue an employer if they are asked about their criminal background on an initial form.

FOX 17 spoke with Matthew and Holly Zimmerman, who said that their criminal background makes it hard to get a good job. Both have felony convictions.

“A lot of times they get out and they want to try to do the right thing,” Matthew Zimmerman said.  “They don’t want to go back to that lifestyle they had before that got them into trouble, but when things don’t work out, I mean you have to live. You have to survive. You can’t just give up. You can’t say ‘well there is no one that is going to hire me I’m going to just go sit on my couch.”

Opponents of the bill told Fox 17 that an employee has the right to know about an applicant’s past and a bad employer could hurt their entire business.