Ban the Box In California Could Inhibit Employment Screening
July 8, 2010
Several communities in the state of California have passed or are considering banning the box legislation, a measure that will remove the check box on a job application in which a job candidate must divulge if they have been convicted of a felony. As other states such as Connecticut, New Mexico and Massachusetts have enacted such laws, we’ve haven’t had a strong opinion one way or the other. Why? Because even if you don’t ask the question on the application, you can still conduct an employment background check and determine if the person has a criminal record. I guess we would have to say we like this measure, because we probably conduct more background checks as a result of candidates not being initially rejected. On the employer side, they are probably spending more money on background checks and recruiting than they ordinarily would.
Our opinion changes dramatically when you talk about doing so in the state of California as they do not report, nor allow employers to use criminal records older than seven years. Therefore, if you take the conviction box off the application and the person committed a felony longer than seven years ago, you’ll never know it happened. This certainly puts employers at a disadvantage when trying to make an informed hiring decision. In my opinion, the state should pick a lane. Either allow records to be reported regardless of age or continue the practice of asking the candidate if they have been convicted of a felony on the job application.