What is the box and why are people trying to ban it? The “box” refers to the question on many job applications that asks applicants if they have ever been convicted of a crime or ever been incarcerated. The ban-the-box movement is a proposal, already implemented in select areas, which would prevent employers from asking about an applicant’s criminal history within the initial stage of the hiring process.

Why the argument for such an ordinance? The idea being asked questions about a criminal past prevent the applicant from being considered based on his or her skills, experience, and personality.

What would ban-the-box do?

Ban-the-box would prevent the company from asking about criminal convictions and incarceration in the initial stages of the hiring process. The applicant would have an opportunity to prove their compatibility with the position. Then, in the later stages, would have the opportunity to offer an explanation relating to the criminal behavior, provide rehabilitation certificates, and review the record to speak on the overall accuracy.

Does this mean employers will no longer be able to perform background checks?

No. Ban-the-box will affect at what stage in the hiring process the employer will be able to ask about criminal history. When the hiring manager is prepared to make an employment offer, a criminal background check can be performed to ensure that the candidate doesn’t have a history that would make them a risk for the particular role.

Have any cities or states adopted this ordinance?

Yes. Twenty-three cities have implemented ban-the-box, including Boston, Cincinnati, Detroit, Jacksonville, Memphis, New Haven, and San Francisco. Additionally, ban-the-box states, preventing employers from asking about criminal history on state job applications, include Connecticut, Hawaii, Minnesota, Massachusetts, and New Mexico.

Ban-the-box was designed to not eliminate an applicant’s chances of employment solely based on a criminal past; however, the ordinance does not prevent employers from performing the necessary background checks prior to offering employment.

For more information on minimizing risk with pre-employment background screening, contact eVerifile today.