Congresswoman Lee Leads Letter to President Urging Fair Chance Hiring

Washington, D.C. – Today, more than 70 Members of the U.S. House of Representatives, led by Congresswoman Barbara Lee, sent a letter to President Obama to adopt a federal fair chance hiring policy.

This effort was co-led by Congressman Conyers, Congressman Scott, Congressman Davis, and Congresswoman Jackson Lee.

“The federal government should not be in the business of erecting barriers between those who have made a mistake and are looking a job,” said Congresswoman Lee. “By enacting these basic ‘fair chance’ hiring reforms, the federal government will continue to lead as a model employer while working to end the cycle of mass incarceration, unemployment and recidivism.”

The effort was supported by various groups including Policy Link, the American Civil Liberties Union (ACLU), National Employment Law Project (NELP), PICO Network’s LIVE FREE Campaign and All Of Us Or None, a national organizing initiative founded by formerly-incarcerated individuals to fight against discrimination and for the human rights of prisoners.

Read more here.

More Employers Letting Candidates Explain Conviction Records

Use of individualized assessments was stressed in EEOC’s 2012 guidance

By Roy Maurer

Society for Human Resource Management (SHRM)

Almost three-quarters (72 percent) of employers perform individualized assessments for candidates who have conviction records—up from 64 percent in 2014—giving those applicants a chance to explain the circumstances of their convictions, according to a new survey.

This is the highest percentage since the Equal Employment Opportunity Commission (EEOC) released guidance on employers’ use of criminal records in 2012.

That’s one of the key findings from background screening provider EmployeeScreenIQ’s survey of 500 U.S.-based employers regarding their use of employment background checks. Continue reading More Employers Letting Candidates Explain Conviction Records

Business Leaders Summits on Reentry

Together with the National Employment Law Project (NELP), the Lawyers’ Committee convened the Alameda County Business Leaders Summit on Reentry in the summer of 2014. The Summit events were held in June and July, and were co-sponsored by the East Bay Economic Development Alliance, the East Bay Community Foundation, and Wendel, Rosen, Black & Dean. The goal of these events was to bring together employers, business leaders, and Human Resources professionals to discuss challenges and opportunities related to hiring people with past criminal records, as a means of strengthening both businesses’ bottom lines and the local economy.

Click here to read our report: “Strategies For Creating Fair Employment Opportunities For People With Criminal Records: Findings from the Alameda County Business Leaders Summit on Reentry.”

At each event, we had remarks from local business leaders who have hired people with past records, including Mike Hannigan, co-founder and president of Give Something Back Office Supplies, Derek Barrett, founder and CEO of D and B Painting Co., Inc., Alameda County Supervisor Richard Valle, founder and president of Tri-CED Community Recycling, and Derreck B. Johnson, founder and president of the acclaimed Home of Chicken and Waffles.

Summit participants learned about the criminal justice system and the importance of employment and reentry from Jeanne Woodford, a senior distinguished fellow at the Chief Justice Earl Warren Institute on Law and Social Policy at UC Berkeley, and former warden of San Quentin State Prison, undersecretary of the California Department of Corrections and Rehabilitation, and chief adult probation officer of the City and County of San Francisco.

Next, Jessica Flintoft, consultant to the Lawyers’ Committee’s, provided an overview of relevant employment laws, and Susana Villarreal, of the Office of Economic and Workforce Development for the City of Oakland, discussed incentives and subsidies for employers who hire people with records. Each of these presentations was followed by a break-out strategy session, during which participants shared their reactions and questions about the issues.

The Lawyers’ Committee and NELP have released a report of their findings from the Summit events, entitled “Strategies for Creating Fair Employment Opportunities for People with Criminal Records: Findings from the Alameda County Business Leaders Summit on Reentry.” The materials from each of the events are provided below.

Materials from the Summit Events


Speaker Biographies



Trainings for Individuals with Past Arrests & Convictions

Trainings for Individuals with Past Arrests & Convictions

This legal training provides information about the rights of workers with past records when they apply for jobs. It covers the process of cleaning up a record (commonly known as “expungement”), employment laws, background checking, and occupational licensing. The training offers useful information to workers about their rights, helping empower them in the job search process.

If you are interested in convening a training for your business organization, please contact


Past trainings:

Resources For Finding Undiscovered Talent