Questions regarding felonies will no longer be asked on initial job applications for positions in the Wellington school district.
Ohio officially joined this growing trend in December, when Gov. John Kasich signed House Bill 56 into law.
Also known as “Ban the Box” legislation, it states that employers in the public sector, such as a public school district, cannot inquire into an individual’s criminal background during the initial application process.
The door is not open to make those inquiries until an offer of employment is ready to be made.
Background checks will be handled by the FBI and Bureau of Criminal Investigation, said Wellington superintendent Dennis Mock.
Once a background check is performed, prior offenses cannot be used to automatically disqualify the applicant unless they fall under state and federal law regarding crimes that exclude public employment.
The bill also puts a cap on how felonies committed during employment can be used when terminating an employee. A felony conviction can be used to sanction, reduce pay, or as grounds for termination, but not as the be-all-end-all basis of a termination.
HB 56 is meant to make it easier for convicted felons to rejoin society after serving their time and to fight stigmas associated with serving time in prison, according the the Ohio chapter of the American Civil Liberties Union.
President Obama ordered all federal agencies to stop asking about felonies on their initial job applications in 2015.
The new regulations do not apply to private sector employers.
Jonathan Delozier can be reached at 440-647-3171 or @DelozierNews on Twitter.