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Back in his black-hat hacking days, Kevin Poulsen commandeered the phone lines of a radio station in Los Angeles to win a Porsche by being the 102nd caller after three particular songs were aired. This is just one of his many feats that nearly resulted in decades behind bars. Five years into his sentence, he was released under certain restrictions; eventually, he became an editor for the online technology publication

ban the box laws gain momentum in illinois

Not everyone gets a second chance, however. In January 2014, the California Supreme Court denied Stephen Glass of the privilege to practice law in the state due to the false articles he had become infamous for. One of these is “Hack Heaven,” published in 1998 about a 15-year-old hacker who supposedly brought an entire software company to its knees with his cyber-attacks.

Criminal records are a serious obstacle for ex-convicts looking to land a new job. It’s important to note that prisons have evolved over the years not just to punish criminals but to reform and reintegrate them into society as productive members. Yet, prejudice against criminal histories remains among many employers.

In light of this, human rights advocates have pushed for the passage of the Opportunity to Compete Act, popularly known as the “ban the box” law. This law will provide opportunities for people with negative records to enjoy equal employment rights. Illinois has recently passed it into law, while New Jersey is close to putting it on the governor’s table for consideration.

The “ban the box” law is a welcome development, but it shouldn’t be a reason for employers to be complacent. There’s always the temptation to return to a life of crime. When it happens after the ex-convict gets the job, the impact on the company and its clients can be significant. Background checks will still remain an integral part of the screening processe despite the law.

If such an incident does happen, a company carrying fidelity bonds from NJ business insurance providers like can mitigate its effects. Fidelity bonds cover any losses incurred by an employee’s wrongdoing. If interviews are unable to see any risk of fraud, fidelity bonds act as a company’s second line of defense.

Fidelity bonds can either be first- or third-party, covering the company’s property or their client’s assets, respectively. Bonds also range in targets to be covered, from a single employee (individual bond) to the entire corporate structure (blanket bond). Fidelity bonds work together with discovery bonds, which cover losses prior to the fidelity bond taking effect.

While a good employer provides equal opportunities, he must also keep his company safe from financial harm. This is exactly what NJ insurance for businesses was designed for.

(Source: ‘Ban the box’ laws gain momentum in Illinois, New Jersey, Employee Benefit News, July 24, 2014)