‘Ban the box’ is a term used to describe a type of employment law that mandates when an employer may inquire about any criminal history of an applicant during the hiring process. The goal of ‘ban the box’ is to offer applicants with a criminal history a better chance of employment.
Advocates of these laws hope an applicant can display their qualifications for a position, thereby increasing the chances of employment. Before these laws, the fear of applicants with a criminal history was to be eliminated from the job pool before interviews were even conducted.
Currently ‘ban the box’ laws are on the books in 32 states and over 150 counties and municipalities. Add the city of New Orleans as another municipality preparing to join that group. There is a proposal in front of the New Orleans City Council to prohibit the city and the contractors it works with from asking job applicants whether they have a criminal history on applications. Instead they must wait until after the initial interview has been completed.
‘Ban the box’ laws can vary from jurisdiction to jurisdiction. They all prohibit criminal history questions from job applications, but who these laws target and when criminal history questions may be asked can change depending on where you are. Here are a couple variances to be aware of:
- Do they affect government employers, private employers, or both?
- When can you ask about criminal history? It depends, it can be after the first interview, or after an offer of employment has been made.
It is the responsibility of the employer to understand if there is a ‘ban the box’ law that affects them, and if there is a law in place, what exactly are the provisions of that law.
View our Guide to Ban the Box Laws at State and County, and City Levels to get a flavor of where these law exist in the U.S.
For more general information on the background screening industry and its products, visit our Whitepaper page.
Compliance is a vital topic when it comes to background screening. As a background screening provider, IntelliCorp focuses on what it means to be legally compliant for ourselves and our clients. Go to our Compliance page for more information.
For more information on this proposed law in New Orleans, Visit the New Orleans Advocate to read their story.