Nationwide over 100 cities and counties have adopted what is widely known as “ban the box” so that public employers consider a job candidate’s qualifications first, without the stigma of a criminal record. These initiatives provide applicants a fair chance by removing the conviction history question on the job application and delaying the background check inquiry until later in the hiring.
18 states representing nearly every region of the country that have adopted the policies – California, Colorado, Connecticut, Delaware, Georgia, Hawaii, Illinois, Maryland, Massachusetts, Minnesota, Nebraska, New Jersey, New Mexico, Ohio, Oregon, Rhode Island, Vermont and Virginia.
8 states — Hawaii, Illinois, Massachusetts, Minnesota, New Jersey, Oregon, and Rhode Island, Vermont — have removed the conviction history question on job applications for private employers, which advocates embrace as the next step in the evolution of these policies. Roughly, 4 of the 8 states with state-wide ban the box laws for private employers have lower unemployment than Texas. Ban the Box laws have no negative impact on private sector job creation.
Ban the Box: U.S. Cities, Counties, and States Adopt Fair Hiring Policies
If citizens recently released from jail and prison are not able to find jobs, then the chance of recidivism rises and ultimately costing taxpayers more.
- A city and/or state law banning all private and/or public sector employers from asking about criminal history on paper and electronic applications
- A cityand/or state law banning all private and/or public sector employers from asking about criminal history and completing background checks until after the first interview.
- A city and/or state law banning all private and/or public sector employers from asking about criminal history and completing background checks until after a conditional offer.
- Explore the different possibilities for non-profit employers such as but not limited to number of employees among other things.
- Ban the box for college applications
What specific steps can we take to insure that we don’t discriminate against people with conviction histories? Ban the Box Campaign
- Remove any question regarding conviction history from your organization’s job application, unless a background check is required by statute.
- Consider that the job may not require a background check.
- Limit background checks to positions requiring unsupervised contact with finances or vulnerable people (youth, elderly, disabled).
- Postpone any background check until a finalist candidate has been selected.
- If a background check is required for the position by statute, supply the job candidate with a copy of the background report. Allow that person to correct any inaccuracies.
- Consider only convictions directly related to the responsibilities of the position, as required by Federal and state law. Do an individualized assessment of whether or not circumstances connected to a prior conviction will be repeated.
- Allow the finalist to explain the circumstances of the conviction, and to offer evidence of his or her rehabilitation.