Governor Peter Shumlin signed an Executive Order April 21, 2015, officially banning the box in Vermont. Under the policy, which applies only to state employment, criminal background checks cannot be performed until an applicant has otherwise been found qualified for the position sought. The executive order does not apply to law enforcement, correctional facilities, or other sensitive positions.
You can find the full text of Executive Order 03-15 here.
Echoing the policy rationale cited in other ban the box state bills and orders, Shumlin said, “This is about giving those who have paid their debt to society a fair chance at a good job. Nobody wins when Vermonters are trapped in a cycle of unemployment and re-incarceration.”
Vermont is now the 16th state to implement a statewide ban the box law. Virginia’s Governor also just recently signed an executive order April 3, banning the box in Virginia state employment. The tide of fair chance laws shows no sign of receding, and in states where such policies are not passed or presented by legislators, Governors may start taking unilateral action. This was the case in Virginia, where ban the box legislation stalled in the legislature and executive action was then used to implement the policy.
Employers should stay apprised of ban the box developments to ensure compliance with new legislation enacted in their state. This is especially true now that Executive Orders are becoming a common method of enactment. In these cases, there is no accommodation period provided to employers; forms and hiring practices must be immediately adapted, as executive orders become effective immediately upon signing. For this reason, employers should make daily or weekly inquiries into ban the box developments that may affect their locations.