Resources Available to Learn More About Fair Chance Hiring

Jun 24, 2019

The Economic Alliance listens consistently for challenges local member businesses are facing. Workforce, both retention of quality workforce and recruitment of talent are strong barriers to growing businesses in our region. While the Economic Alliance exists to drive economic, workforce and population growth strategies and to help businesses succeed, one way we often meet this mission is as a resource to our members.

One of these resources is called Fair Chance Hiring. Consider the following information a resource on one way that many businesses with workforce challenges can learn more about a potential pool of employees.

Fair Chance means a prospective candidate with a record (like arrest, probation, or incarceration) is not automatically disqualified from consideration for hiring. Fair Chance policies consider a candidate’s qualifications first, without the stigma of an arrest or conviction record, ensuring prospective employees are not automatically disqualified during the selection process. The hiring and decision-making remain solely with the employer. Major corporations like American Airlines, the Coca-Cola Company, Facebook, Google, PepsiCo, Starbucks and Xerox have taken the pledge to support Fair Chance Hiring.

One in four Americans have had some sort of involvement with the criminal justice system that would be discovered during a routine background search. Such an individual is frequently referred to as a “Fair Chance Worker.” When asked why a Fair Chance Worker was hired over another candidate, 50% or more managers and HR professionals said they wanted to hire the most qualified candidate. 67% believe the quality of work provided by a Fair Chance Worker is about the same or higher than that of workers without records. Barring all Fair Chance Workers from consideration narrows and an already tight labor pool and likely means noncompliance with federal Equal Employment Opportunity (EECO) regulations.

At the conclusion of the 2019 Iowa legislative session, Governor Reynolds signed HF650 into law, creating an employer liability shield in certain instances for employers who hire individuals with past criminal offenses.

For more information and resources on Fair Chance Hiring, visit

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