The laws in New York and elsewhere throughout the country have come a long way in recent years when it comes to protecting job applicants from employment discrimination based on criminal history. "Ban the box" laws and ordinances facilitate opportunities for tens of thousands of workers who used to pay an ongoing price for transgressions that they paid for long ago.
Last month, Los Angeles joined a growing group of U.S. cities taking steps to end hiring discrimination based on a job applicant's criminal history. The "Los Angeles Fair Chance Initiative for Hiring" ordinance took effect on January 22 and is arguably the strongest and most progressive so-called "Ban the Box" law in the country.
So-called "wearables," such as fitness trackers, are becoming more and more ubiquitous every day. It's easy to see why. They count our steps, monitor our heart rate, measure the quality of our sleep, and we can use that information to improve our health.
When the U.S. Supreme Court delivered its opinion in Spokeo, Inc. v. Robins last May, employers, as well as the companies that provide employers with job applicants' background information, argued that the ruling was a significant change to the law of standing. Despite the smokescreen they've attempted to raise, however, Spokeo hasn't changed standing at all, and consumers (including job seekers) are just as empowered to seek redress for Fair Credit Reporting Act violations today as they were before.
Ban the Box legislation is an incredibly important tool in fighting black underemployment by removing employers' ability to use criminal history as a proxy for discrimination. However, it only attacks a symptom of the problem of race discrimination in hiring: criminal history is not the only way that employers use "race-neutral" criteria a proxy to discriminate against black job seekers. A holistic approach that acknowledges the omnipresent role that the black criminality myth continues to play in employment discrimination - and daily life in general - is necessary.
New York City is poised to protect the unemployed from discrimination. Recently, the New York City Council passed a law that would prohibit employers from discriminating against applicants because they are currently unemployed.
A recent lawsuit filed in California state court against The Oprah Winfrey Network sheds light on pregnancy and leave discrimination issues in the workplace.