Ban the Box legislation has taken the nation by storm. In just a few years, laws to prohibit employers from asking questions about criminal history early in the application process have multiplied. There are now 24 states, more than 100 cities and even the federal government that have adopted some kind of Ban the Box statute.
No one can say that these efforts are anything short of well-meaning. What could be better for society than to help those who have paid their debt get back on their feet and back into the workforce?
EBI's Screening News Update – February 5, 2016
• New Federal Agency to Handle Background Checks
• Pennsylvania Teachers Fight Background Checks
• National Retailers Hit With Ban The Box Fines
Most of us are familiar with “Ban the Box.” In its original form, ban the box laws and ordinances were created to remove the criminal history question, and its attendant Yes/No box, from employment applications. Although criminal history inquiry is permitted later in the selection process, the intent of ban the box is to ensure that applicants for employment are considered based on their knowledge, skills, and abilities rather than being automatically disqualified based on criminal history. Sometimes referred to as “Fair Chance Policies,” ban the box is designed to give applicants for employment exactly that – a fair chance for employment.
Earlier this week President Barack Obama announced an Executive Order to ‘Ban the Box’ for all federal employers. More than 600,000 people are released from state and federal prisons each year. Under this Executive Order, the box asking if you have a criminal record must be removed from all federal job applications. Employers WILL be able to do background checks and ask questions regarding criminal history once the applicant has reached the interview stage of the process. See the president’s comments about Ban the Box here.
Chuck E. Cheese will pay nearly $2 million to settle the California based suit that alleges job applicants were not provided the required disclosures about background checks performed during the hiring process.
Consumer reporting agencies are now allowed to report criminal convictions from the state of Nevada that are more than 7 years old. Governor Brian Sandoval signed Senate Bill 409 which basically removes any time limitations on reporting criminal records. The bill also allows gaming operators and employers to do more thorough background checks on job applicants by allowing CRAs to reports bankruptcy information that is more than 10 years old.
The level of legislative activity, regulatory guidance, and litigation surrounding background checks for employment screening has never been higher. And, as onerous litigation and multi-million dollar settlements become increasingly common, the stakes have never been higher for employers as they seek to balance external requirements with their legitimate business needs. Three recent actions follow, along with ripple effects.
Learn more about this and other screening news topics in this week's EBI Screening News Update.
Don’t ask about criminal history until the interview stage or until a conditional job offer has been extended. Ban the Box seems pretty straight forward, but unexpected slip-ups have already led to citations and fines in Minnesota. The state’s law went into effect on January 1st. Over the course of the year the Minnesota Department of Human Rights has investigated more than 50 complaints about applications violating the ban the box law.
Learn more about this and other screening news topics – Watch our Screening News Update or read our blog.
A weekly blog containing Screening News Updates and Legislative Alerts.
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Screening News Update – October 23, 2014. This Screening News Update Legislative alert contains BOTH a text and a video version.
Could asking a job applicant if they have ever been convicted of a crime actually reduce crime? Researchers at Florida International University say it can.
Screening News Update – October 15, 2014. This Screening News and Legislative Alert blog post contains BOTH a text and a video version.
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It seems like every single week we are announcing another state or jurisdiction adding or broadening their Ban the Box policies. They each have a slightly different name, and the details about which employers are included vary, but one by one, municipalities are being swept up in the ban the box bandwagon.
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