Democrats. Republicans. Who Cares About Fair Chance Hiring?

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With Super Tuesday quickly approaching, do you know where the presidential candidates stand on issues that could affect your hiring processes?

Chances are you don’t, since press coverage focuses on taxes, job creation, and national defense. But serious momentum behind fair-chance hiring practices in general and the ban-the-box movement specifically make it a worthy issue for employers and HR professionals to research when considering their votes.

Quick refresher: the ban-the-box movement advocates for the removal of questions about criminal history from job applications in order to give people with criminal records a fair chance at getting an interview.

Already, 19 states and over 100 counties and cities nationwide have banned the box, with Birmingham, Alabama, a recent addition, and now the state of Utah is looking join, too. The Fair Chance To Compete For Jobs Act 2015, which bans the box for federal agencies and contractors, is on the Senate legislative calendar for 2016.

Here’s where the candidates currently stand.

Democratic Candidates Support Ban-The-Box

Both former Secretary of State Hillary Clinton and Sen. Bernie Sanders support ban the box on their campaign websites.

Bernie Sanders

On his campaign website, Vermont senator frames unfair hiring practices as an issue of economic violence. “We must prevent employers from discriminating against applicants based on criminal history by ‘banning the box,’” his issues page reads. Sanders has also expressed his support for initiatives that would ban the box for federal agencies and contractors. Sanders also wants to help those formerly in prison get an education by extending the Second Chance Pell Pilot Program.

Hillary Clinton

Clinton states her plan on her campaign site: “take executive action to ban the box for federal employers and contractors.” In this, she’s extending the work begun by President Obama, who directed the the Office of Personnel Management (OPM) to revise its policies to ban the box from job applications last year. The OPM is expected to release its rules on banning the box in May of this year.

Republican Candidates: Mixed Approaches

Of the six Republican candidates, only two have demonstrated support for fair hiring practices. The remaining Republican candidates are quiet on the issue.

John Kasich

In June of last year, on the recommendation of the Ohio Justice & Policy Center and the Ohio Organizing Collaborative, Ohio Gov. Kasich issued an executive order banning the box on applications for state civil jobs. In December, he signed legislation that extended banning the box to non-federal employers, including local governments and schools.

Ted Cruz and Donald Trump

Neither of these candidates discusses ban the box or fair chance hiring on their campaign sites. If they’ve made comments on these issues, those comments weren’t widely reported.

However, Sen. Ted Cruz has spoken out against mandatory minimum sentencing and the plea-bargaining system. Unlike many of the other candidates, Donald Trump calls for a tougher criminal justice system to more effectively fight crime. He has said that viewing criminals as “victims of society” is dangerous, and that people shouldn’t be allowed to reenter society so easily.

Where do you stand on fair chance hiring or ban the box? Let us know @goodhiretweets #BuildGreatTeams.

Gwynne Monahan

Gwynne Monahan


Gwynne Monahan is a writer, editor, and consumer of knowledge who focuses on the intersection of law, technology, and HR. When she’s not writing, you can usually find her enjoying some jazz or a game of soccer.

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