Why Ban the Box Might Be Key to Allaying Discrimination Concerns
August 9, 2011
The Fayetteville Observer is reporting that Cumberland county, North Carolina plans to “ban the box” on all government jobs. For those not familiar with the term, “ban the box” refers to employers excluding the question on their job application which asks the applicant if they have been convicted of criminal activity. While we’ve written extensively on this topic, I’ve never been a vocifierous supporter or detractor of this measure.
But given the EEOC’s recent hearing on the use of criminal background checks, I’m beginning to warm to the concept. Banning the box will effectively give everyone a fair chance to be interviewed for a given position. While not asking about an individual’s criminal history on the application will just delay this eventually coming out, it will give the applicant the opportunity to shine in the interview and even come clean about their past, offering an explanation about what happened and when.
Of course, the employer will still conduct a background check, but at least the candidate will have been allowed a fair chance to convince the employer that they are the right person for the job. Perhaps measures such as these will make the EEOC moderate their position.