Pennsylvania Makes it Unconstitutional to Bar Employment Based on Criminal History



Liberty first wrote about Pennsylvania's lifetime ban on convicted criminals in adult-care facilities in July 2015. The law is The Older Adult Protective Services Act and it imposed employment bans at "covered facilities" for anyone with a criminal record. All convictions were included and was a lifetime ban for employment at adult-care facilities.

After a group petitioned The Commonwealth Court in Pennsylvania to make the law unconstitutional, the court ruled unanimously on their favor.

Advocates of the ruling said it gives fuel to the national movement to allow rehabilitated convicts a second chance. Across the country, including the federal government, many jurisdictions have passed legislation to "ban the box" that requests criminal conviction history on initial employment applications. The movement is aimed at addressing the Equal Opportunity Employment Commission's (EEOC's) findings that the risk of returning to crime declines as the date of the convictions ages. In addition, the EEOC considers the exclusion of convicted criminals from employment is a disparate impact on minorities.