Approximately 70 million Americans – nearly one-third of all adults – have a prior arrest or conviction record. The Ban the Box movement, which has translated into the law in 35 states and more than 150 cities and counties, provides candidates a fair chance at being hired by removing the conviction question from job applications. It also moves background checks later in a company’s hiring process; for instance, after an interview has been conducted or a conditional offer made.
- Ban the Box enables employers to consider a candidate’s qualifications first, removing the stigma of an arrest or conviction record. In doing so, it has, in many cases, contributed to upskilling – the heightening of job requirements around education and experience, as employers substitute related questions for those based on criminal history.
- Banning the Box has increased employment rates in high-crime U.S. neighborhoods by up to 4 percent, according to research done at Case Western University. And it should come as no surprise that employment helps greatly as former prisoners establish secure housing, health insurance, and other necessities.
Is Your State Part of Ban the Box?
Ban the Box campaigns began in Hawaii in the late 1990s and gained strength as a result of the 2007-2009 recession. Statewide laws or policies are now in place in Arizona, California, Colorado, Connecticut, Delaware, Georgia, Illinois, Indiana, Kansas, Kentucky, Louisiana, Maine, Maryland, Massachusetts, Michigan, Minnesota, Missouri, Nebraska, Nevada, New Jersey, New Mexico, New York, North Dakota, Ohio, Oklahoma, Oregon, Pennsylvania, Rhode Island, Tennessee, Utah, Vermont, Virginia, Washington, and Wisconsin, as well as Hawaii.
- More than 258 million people – over 75 percent of the U.S. population – now live in jurisdictions with some form of Ban the Box or fair chance hiring policies.
Be Aware of Antidiscrimination Laws
Even if your state doesn’t have a Ban the Box law, be sure to monitor your hiring process carefully when it comes to asking about a person’s criminal history. If you’re not careful, you could violate federal antidiscrimination laws. Equal Employment Opportunity Commission (EEOC) guidelines serve as reminders that denying employment to candidates with criminal records can have a disproportionate impact on particular racial groups.
Complying with Ban the Box and other antidiscrimination laws can be complex, especially as rules vary from location to location. When it comes to selecting your background screening company, don’t cut corners or settle for less than the best. Chane Solutions is a national leader in managing pre-employment screening programs. Our expert team offers guidance on best practices, knowledge of the latest compliance issues and industry legislation, and a commitment to maximizing your company’s safety and security. Contact us today for more information.