Michigan Clean Slate Law: What It Means for Employers

May 17, 2023 by Verified First

Compliance Corner - Michigan Clean Slate Law: What It Means For Employers

As you’re probably aware, Michigan signed the Clean Slate Act of 2021, following many other states implementing clean slate and ban the box type laws. The state of Michigan is currently in the process of expunging older and less serious convictions of residents. Now that its legislation is officially coming into effect, employers are already seeing significant changes in their hiring and background screening processes. 

So, what will these changes have on employers hiring and conducting business in Michigan? Let’s take a look at what are clean slate and ban the box legislations and what employers in Michigan, and other restrictive states, should know. 

What is the Michigan Clean Slate Law?

Under the Michigan Clean Slate Law, criminal records for ex-offenders with a ten-year conviction-free record or a seven-year clean slate for certain misdemeanors will be automatically sealed. This means that during a background check, these convictions will no longer be available public records. 

States With Clean Slate and Ban The Box Laws

To date, ten states (including Michigan) have passed clean slate laws and more than 35 have adopted ban the box legislation. These states include: 

  • Pennsylvania
  • Utah
  • New Jersey
  • Michigan
  • Connecticut
  • Virginia
  • Delaware
  • Oklahoma
  • Colorado
  • California

Additionally, many other states are also actively working to approve this legislation. The legislation parameters vary from state to state, some allowing for automatic expungement while other states’ residents must apply to have their records sealed. 

How Do Clean Slate Laws Impact Employers?

Clean slate and ban the box laws aim to level the playing field and create more housing and job opportunities for ex-offenders. Excluding potential employees with criminal records from entering the workforce costs the US economy an estimated $87 billion annually in lost GDP. From an HR and talent acquisition standpoint, these laws will create a larger pool of untapped talent and potentially help diversify the workforce. 

There are a number of crimes excluded from automatic expungement, including convictions involving assault, human trafficking, driving while intoxicated, and more, but the underlying principle is to deter discrimination. 

When background screening, consumer reporting agencies rely on courthouse and public records to gather information about a candidate's history. With the new clean slate legislation, certain convictions will be expunged from an individual's record, making it unavailable on a background check. 

Limiting information about applicants, especially criminal convictions, may worry hiring managers from a risk management perspective, but it is still possible to create a safe workplace with this legislation. Most violent crimes are not eligible for expungement, and you can still gain a holistic picture of potential candidates when conducting a proper background check. 

How Employers Can Respond to Clean Slate Legislation

Michigan’s Clean Slate Act is one of the most expansive in the country. Keeping up with this complex legislation can be very challenging for employers looking to attract and retain high-quality candidates. Laws like this may continue to pass throughout the country, so it’s essential that employers stay up to date with what’s happening both in their state and county.  

Working with a background check provider can help your organization comply with local, state, and federal legislation like clean slate and ban the box laws. Partnering with a screening company can also help prevent applicants from feeling like they were unfairly treated based on inaccurate or incomplete information reported on their background checks. 

Verified First is here to help you achieve screening success all in one place. We offer compliant screens for every industry, including drug screens, criminal background checks, civil records, and more. Verified First is accredited by the Professional Background Screening Association (PBSA), so we have the expertise to stay on top of new and developing legislation in every state. Utilizing our screens can help you stay compliant, manage your pool of candidates, and make more informed hiring decisions. 

Reach out to us to learn more!

About Verified First
Verified First is known for delivering streamlined background screening backed by the best client support, and for developing the easiest, fastest HR system integrations, for free. Our client support team is U.S.-based, answers calls in seconds, resulting in hundreds of positive testimonials and a 96% customer satisfaction. Verified First's patent-pending, award-winning integrations include over 100 applicant tracking systems, and provide clients a turn-key experience.

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