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Ban the Box

Jan 3, 2017 3:51:00 PM

There has been a lot of controversy about the inquiry into people’s criminal background before they are considered for employment. Many individuals have the mindset that this should not exclude people from being considered for a position before you have looked at their qualifications. This does not necessarily mean you will not be asked about your criminal history but the process would not occur until after an offer. There are two camps. Those who think it’s a great way to look at all qualified prospects unbiased; And those who think that it waste time since they would not hire a potential felon at all, no matter their qualifications.

Last November, U.S. President Barack Obama issued an executive order to “ban the box” - the widely-hated part of a job application that allows federal agencies and other employers to force prospective hires to disclose criminal their criminal record history. In issuing the order, the president declared government hiring should not use criminal history “to screen out” applicants before their qualifications have been considered. The order allows federal hiring officials to ask about past convictions, but only after making a conditional job offer.

Most recently, the states of Oklahoma, Tennessee and Wisconsin imposed the policy on their own governments, bringing the total to 23 participating states. The prohibition also covers private employers in seven states: Hawaii, Illinois, Massachusetts, Minnesota, New Jersey, Oregon and Rhode Island.

Over 100 cities and counties now have their own “ban the box” laws. That includes nine of the 30 most populous U.S. cities: Chicago, San Francisco, Baltimore and Portland, Oregon acted before their states adopted a statewide measure. There are a total of 23 states representing nearly every region of the country that have adopted the policies —California (2013, 2010), Colorado (2012), Connecticut (2010), Delaware (2014), Georgia (2015), Hawaii (1998), Illinois (2014, 2013), Maryland (2013), Massachusetts (2010), Minnesota (2013, 2009), Missouri (2016), Nebraska (2014), New Jersey (2014), New Mexico (2010), New York (2015), Ohio (2015), Oklahoma (2016), Oregon (2015), Rhode Island (2013), Tennessee (2016), Vermont (2015, 2016), Virginia (2015), and Wisconsin (2016). Eight states—Hawaii, Illinois, Massachusetts, Minnesota, New Jersey, Oregon, Rhode Island, and Vermont—have removed the conviction history question on job applications for private employers, which advocates embrace as the next step in the evolution of these policies.

Would you consider going through the entire hiring process without criminal history first?

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