Is Ban the Box Legislation Out of Control?

Nick Fishman


It’s no secret that ban the box legislation is on the rise in cities, counties, and states across the United States. Just in case you haven’t heard much about this movement yet, here’s a brief explanation. When a particular location “bans the box” this means that employers are unable to include the check box on applications which asks whether or not an applicant has been convicted of a crime—at least not until later in the hiring process.

While these laws are well-intentioned, they’ve often become confusing for employers. While they protect job candidates from discrimination, laws are inconsistent, which exposes employers to an increased risk of breaking the law if they are unaware of the facts.

How Are Employers Misperceiving Ban the Box?

The basic definition of these laws aside, there are three provisions employers should be aware of. These laws:

1. Prohibit employers from asking about criminal history or conducting criminal background checks on applicants prior to either an initial interview or a conditional offer of employment.

2. Require employers to take into consideration specific factors that may mirror or slightly differ from federal Equal Employee Opportunity (EEO) guidance.

3. Require special notifications and appeal processes that may differ from federal consumer laws under the Fair Credit Reporting Act (FCRA).

How Have These Laws Become Problematic for Employers?

In addition to misperceiving the meaning of these laws, several problems have arisen for companies because of the legislation.

1. The hiring process is less efficient for all involved.

2. Rejection of inappropriate candidates becomes more difficult.

3. The cost of hiring increases.

For employers who conduct business in multiple cities and states with ban the box laws, it’s becoming increasingly difficult for them to ensure they’re in compliance. The bottom line is that employers need to protect their businesses both by hiring the right employees and complying with the laws that apply to their organization.

To learn more about each of the issues addressed in this post, click the link below to download our new guide, “Ban the Box Is Out of Control! What You Need to Know to Protect Your Business.”

Ban the Box

Nick Fishman
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Nick Fishman

Nick Fishman is the co-founder of EmployeeScreenIQ, a leading, global employment background screening provider, and serves as the company’s executive vice president and chief marketing officer. He pioneered the creation of EmployeeScreen University, the #1 educational resource on employment background checks for human resources, security and risk management professionals. A recognized industry expert, Nick is a frequent author, presenter and contributor to the news media. Nick is also a licensed private investigator in the states of Ohio and Texas.
Nick Fishman
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