Is your hiring process legal? Here are five simple answers to questions about “ban the box” legislation.
1. What is “the box”? The “box” refers to any question on a job application that asks about a candidate’s criminal history. Many application forms ask candidates to check a box if they have ever been convicted of a crime.
2. Why is “the box” banned? According to the Equal Employment Opportunity Commission (EEOC), questions about criminal history have a greater impact on minorities. Banning the box gives all applicants a chance to discuss their skills and qualifications without an automatic rejection due to criminal history.
3. Where has “the box” been banned? As of March 2016, over 100 cities and counties have enacted “ban the box” legislation. Also, 21 states have passed “ban the box” legislation for public employers. Seven states prohibit private employers from asking about criminal history on job applications. Be sure to check state and municipal laws for your location.
4. When can I ask about an applicant’s criminal background? In locations with “ban the box” laws, you cannot ask about criminal background on an application form or during an initial interview. Your job ads should not contain any language stating that applicants are not considered for employment if they have criminal records.
An employer can ask questions regarding criminal background after making a job offer. EEOC guidance suggests that an employer can withdraw the job offer depending on the gravity of the offense, the time that has passed, and how the nature of the offense relates to the specific job.
5. Are there exceptions to “ban the box”? Certain positions may require that applicants have no criminal records. Examples are law enforcement, corrections, the judiciary, homeland security or emergency management. State or municipal laws, rules, and regulations may define positions that require a criminal background check.
If you have questions regarding this topic, or would like to learn more about the HireMeLegal.com platform, please feel free to contact us. We’re dedicated to making your legal experience, whether it is to hire or be hired, as simple as possible.