Gov. Bryant Passes Bill to Protect Employers' Rights

Reported by: Alyssa Meisner
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Updated: 3/17/2014 6:41 pm
The Governor has signed a bill protecting employers’ rights to run background checks on potential employees. Many employers run background checks, but that right was threatened in many cities nationwide after bills were passed restricting background checks. With this prospect looming for Mississippi businesses, Congress decided to take a stand. Sean Tindell, a Mississippi Senator, says, "There have been several municipalities across the counties that have enacted laws that have restricted the ability of employers to do background checks on employees. One, we want to make sure we're securing the employers’ right to know who he or she is employing in their business, but also believe it’s an opportunity to protect the workplace environment."

Tindell says the Mississippi Senate and House were concerned that cities or towns may try to interfere with background checks in the future. One company familiar with background checks is Kelly Services, a job placement agency. Robyn Tennyson, the Branch Manager of Kelly Services in Gulfport, says, "It is a good practice, and a lot of it really depends on the type of position. Obviously if it's a position working with secure information, anything that could be personal, working with money accounts, that kind of job, we always suggest they do run a background on that type of person." Background checks could limit an ex-prisoners’ ability to get a job, even after they've served their time. One study says almost 60% of prisoners are still unemployed even a year after they've been released. Tennyson also says, "Depending on what the nature is, obviously if it’s been after seven years and the person has done their crime and done what was required of them, then we would love to hire them and give them a second chance." Tindell says this may be another hurdle for ex-offenders, but that there are still ways to get hired.

Tindell closes, "There's ways for people that are not repeat offenders and have done just property crimes, or first time drug offenders, to have their records wiped clean so that it doesn't affect their ability to get jobs or wouldn't show up on these background checks." The bill was signed by the Governor and will go into effect later this year. The bill covers all cities, towns, and municipalities in the State of Mississippi.

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