Employers: Soon you might not be allowed to ask about applicants' criminal backgrounds

If a group of Wyoming legislators their way, employers could no longer ask job applicants about their criminal history. Rep. James W. Byrd, D-Cheyenne, is proposing a bill in this year's legislative session that does just that. Other legislators that have signed on as sponsors are: Rep. Cathy Connolly, D-Laramie; Rep. Charles Pelkey, D-Laramie; Rep. Andy Schwartz, D-Jackson; Sen. Fred Emerich, R-Laramie; and Sen. Floyd Esquibel, D-Cheyenne. House Bill 5, as currently proposed, would make it illegal for "an employer to request information about an applicant's past criminal history on an employment application form." The bill calls the practice of asking about criminal history a "discriminatory or unfair employment practice." It does, however, provide for one exception. When a criminal conviction would legally prohibit someone from doing the job, then it would be OK to ask on the application. For example, convicted felons can't use firearms, so that prohibits them from performing jobs that require the use of one like security guards or police officers. In a case like this, then it would be legal to ask applicants about. The bill is already receiving push-back. The Wyoming State Chamber of Commerce, which lobbies for chambers across the state, opposes the bill. "Wyoming employers do hire convicted criminals in some cases," WSCC said in a list of its stances on bills this year. "The employers should be able to access the candidate and their past to best decide if the crime committed could negatively impact the business, its customers or it’s existing staff." With this year being a budget session, two thirds of the House will have to approve even introducing the bill for discussion. #bootstrapped #news