Over the last 20 years, many states and municipalities across the nation have slowly enacted versions of ‘ban the box’ legislation. For anyone unaware, ‘ban the box’ generally covers a type of employment law that restricts how employers may inquire about any criminal history of an applicant.
The term ‘ban the box’ sprung from the idea of removing the check box and question of whether an applicant has ever been convicted of any type of crime from a job application. In years since, ‘ban the box’ has morphed into when and how an employer may inquire, such as after the initial interview has been conducted or after a conditional offer of employment has been made. Many of the provisions of these laws vary from state to state.
Watch our informative video on these laws:
Ban the Box Laws – What Employers Need to Know
Currently 32 states and over 150 municipalities have a law regarding how employers should address an applicant’s criminal history.
One state that has resisted this trend is Michigan. Not only has Michigan failed to pass a law to enact their version, they passed a law restricting municipalities in their state from enacting ‘ban the box’ at all. Michigan Governor Rick Snyder has now begun to change this. Recently Governor Snyder issued a directive for the removal of criminal history questions from state job applications.
Advocates of ‘ban the box’ laws view this as progress and hope that the Michigan legislature will eventually pass a law that affects private employers in the state. The hope is these laws will assist former offenders to gain employment and decrease their likelihood of offending again.
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