Ban the Box Legislation How Does it Affect Your Hiring Process

Ban the Box Legislation: How Does it Affect Your Hiring Process?

Chances are you’ve heard the term Ban the Box. Perhaps your organization hires employees in one of the many regulated jurisdictions throughout the United States, and you’re a well-seasoned veteran of the regulations. Maybe you’re unfamiliar with the concept entirely! Whatever your situation may be, we hope this article can shed some light on the ever-growing, ever-changing Ban the Box movement.

Ban the Box is a well-intended movement designed to give individuals with criminal records a fair chance at employment.

What is Ban the Box?

In a nutshell, Ban the Box is a generic term used for a law or regulation that essentially prohibits an employer from inquiring about criminal records on an employment application, and in some cases, delays the time in which an employer can inquire about criminal records until later in the hiring process. The term derives from the criminal record question “checkbox” found on most employment applications.

Statistics from the United States Department of Justice indicate that there are approximately 650,000 individuals released from prison every year. These individuals have a need, and often a desire, to work and become productive members of society. In essence, Ban the Box is a well-intended movement designed to give individuals with criminal records a “fair chance” at employment. The conventional wisdom is that removing the criminal record question from an employment application will prevent an employer from making an automatic disqualification decision without first examining an applicant’s qualifications or providing a chance for him/her to explain his/her side of the story. Whether or not these laws are necessary or working as intended is entirely up for debate and certainly a topic for a separate discussion.

Currently, the following jurisdictions have some form or another of Ban the Box legislation on the books:

States: Hawaii, Illinois, Massachusetts, Minnesota, New Jersey, Oregon, Rhode Island

Counties: Montgomery County, MD Prince George’s, MD

Municipalities: Baltimore, MD; Buffalo, NY; Chicago, IL; Columbia, MO; New York, NY; Philadelphia, PA; Rochester, NY; San Francisco, CA; Seattle, WA

Exclusive Download: Get More Applicants From Job Boards

Don't post and pray. Get this exclusive FREE cheat sheet and take active steps to dramatically increase the results you get from your job board posts.

Because Ban the Box laws vary greatly from jurisdiction to jurisdiction, you should consult with competent legal counsel in your jurisdiction to ensure compliance if your organization operates or hires employees in any of the aforementioned jurisdictions. In some jurisdictions, the law may or may not apply depending on the size of your organization and whether or not your organization is public or private. Nevertheless, it’s vitally important to understand if and how the law applies to your organization. This is especially true for employers with multi-jurisdictional operations who may hire individuals from different parts of the country. While all Ban the Box jurisdictions prohibit the use of a criminal record question or “box” on the employment application, many jurisdictions go beyond this basic requirement and require the employer to delay inquiring about criminal records or even running a background check until an interview has been performed or an offer extended.

Below are some examples of when an employer can inquire about criminal records during the hiring process:

Carefully examine your current hiring practices and examine whether or not it is necessary to ask applicants about their criminal history

The cities of Chicago, IL and Seattle, WA along with the states of Illinois, Massachusetts and Minnesoa allow an employer to ask about criminal records after an “initial screening of applicants.”

Employers in Buffalo, NY, the states of Oregon and Rhode Island can ask about criminal records during the first interview, while employers in Montgomery County, MD; Price Georges County, MD; the state of New Jersey, Philadelphia, PA; Rochester, NY and San Francisco, CA can only inquire about criminal records after the first interview.

Finally, the cities of Baltimore, MD; Columbia, MO; New York City, NY; the District of Columbia and the state of Hawaii require employers to wait until after a conditional offer of employment has been extended to the applicant.

Given the growing trend of Ban the Box legislation across the country, ProScreening suggests that employers carefully examine their current hiring practices and examine whether or not it is necessary to ask applicants about their criminal history. Employers in Ban the Box jurisdictions should be especially careful with the risks of asking about criminal records, and should only do so when legally permissible.

Legal Disclaimer: This article is designed solely for informational purposes, and should not be inferred or understood as legal advice. Persons in need of legal assistance should seek the advice of competent legal counsel.

To learn more about how we can assist you with your pre-employment background screening program, please contact us!

maximize job boards

Get More Applicants from Job Boards

Download this exclusive guide to improve applicant flow from job boards.

First Name*
Last Name*
Email*
Share this article


Increase qualified applicants

Track Down More Koalafied Applicants!

5 Proven Ways to Increase Your Qualified Applicants

Click Here



Related Articles

searching employer brand online to see what job seekers see
Your Employer Brand is Awful! (and its Keeping Your Applicants Away)

Learn what 4 qualities job seekers look for in a potential employer and how to use internet searches and brand ratings to better understand your own employer brand.

Continue

hr manager hiring new employee using successful hiring framework
Successful Hiring Framework

6 Steps to a Successful Hiring Framework - Learn how best to target your job seeker audience, get their attention, and get them to apply!

Continue

team of hr tracking the source of the company hires
Why You Should Start Tracking Source of Hires Today

Understand better one of the most telling and most important metrics for the growth of your organization: Tracking Source of Hires

Continue




Want a tour?

Schedule a Demo

Let's get started!

FREE Trial