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“Ban the Box” Legislation Remains Controversial in 2018

Effective background checks have always been an integral part of the hiring process. That said, businesses often struggle to balance several fundamental aspects of proper background screening: thoroughness, consumer fairness and litigation avoidance. While businesses rightly demand accurate and complete background investigations in order to ensure workplace safety and avoid negligent hiring claims, candidates need be afforded fairness and equal opportunity while doing so. Understandably, the obvious conflicting nature of these factors creates challenges for employers.  Thus, it is clear why the newest related hurdle for organizations when it comes to background checks is a recent nationwide focus on criminal justice reform. This recent movement, aimed at getting ex-offenders back into the workplace, has resulted in laws, guidance and regulations mostly surrounding the timing, depth and adverse action requirements of background checks. How could such legislation affect your hiring strategy in the coming months?

“Ban the box” legislation is gaining traction in many areas…

“Ban the box” and “Fair Chance” laws are meant to protect candidates from unfair discrimination based on their criminal histories. By preventing employers from inquiring about criminal histories too early in the hiring process, all candidates are given a fair chance to make a good impression – a grace period that is particularly important for groups that are often victimized by discrimination. While such laws have been in place in some areas for years, more and more jurisdictions are enacting ban the box laws every year.

Meanwhile, many areas are tightening their legislation to favor candidates even more. Massachusetts, for example, enacted legislation last month that will allow businesses and background screening agencies to access only the most recent and pertinent convictions. Other states and cities have also tacked on additional requirements related to adverse action notices and consideration of aged or irrelevant data.  Lawmakers hope that such changes will give all candidates fair access to employment while also deepening the talent pool that is available to companies that are hiring.

…While certain jurisdictions are shutting it down

Though many lawmakers and business owners are softening their attitudes regarding hiring candidates with criminal histories, ban the box laws aren’t universally loved. At almost the exact time that the Governor of Massachusetts was tightening the scope of background screening, lawmakers in Michigan enacted legislation that broadens businesses’ rights to screen their applicants, essentially banning “ban the box” rules. Under the new rules, local and county governments are forbidden from interfering in this aspect of the hiring process, and business owners will be free to craft their own hiring and screening policies.

Keeping up with your local regulations

As you can see, there is little certainty about the nationwide future of “Ban the Box” movement. Business owners can be unequivocally sure, however, that accurate, legally compliant background checks must remain a staple within the hiring process. The industry insiders at Chane Solutions are expertly qualified to guide you in crafting your hiring and screening strategy. As such, we guarantee that our screening services will provide the most accurate results possible while staying compliant with ever-changing regulations. To learn more about our comprehensive and cost effective background screening services, contact us today.

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