People with criminal records are not a protected class under Title VII, and many employers fear that hiring people with criminal records invites negligent hiring liability. Ban the Box privacy laws delay but may not deter overbroad criminal background checks. This Article challenges this standard account by shifting focus to the state in imposing arbitrary barriers to work. I expose a dignity interest in the removal of these unnecessary barriers, or "labor redemption." I find foundations of labor redemption in successful constitutional challenges to denials of public employment and occupational licenses. Labor redemption is also, increasingly, a statutory right, in the automated sealing and expungement of old and minor criminal records, and issuance of state certifications of individuals as rehabilitated. This Article's assessment offers lessons for other areas in which private decision-makers exclude candidates because of state-imposed stigmas, especially the close analogy of housing discrimination.
Andrew Elmore, Labor Redemption in Work Law, 11 UC IRVINE L. REV. 287 (2020).