Started by the national civil rights organization of formerly-incarcerated people, All of Us or None, the Ban the Box campaign "challenges the stereotypes of people with conviction histories by asking employers to choose their best candidates based on job skills and qualifications, not past convictions."
The "box" refers to the checkbox found on many job applications that asks if a candidate has ever been convicted of a crime. By removing this checkbox and delaying criminal inquiries until after an interview has been conducted or a conditional job offer has been extended, employers are given the opportunity to evaluate a candidate without bias and job seekers are less likely to become victims of blind discrimination.
In conjunction with the Equal Employment Opportunity Commission's (EEOC) arrest and conviction record guidelines, "Ban the Box" seeks to give all job applicants a fair chance, despite the mere existence of a criminal record.
In a word - no. Employers are still able to perform pre-employment background checks and make hiring decisions based on the results of the report, though the EEOC does encourage employers to take several factors into consideration before taking adverse action against an applicant (such as time elapsed since the conviction, any rehabilitation efforts taken, and relatedness of the crime to the intended position).
According to the National Employment Law Project, more than 100 cities, counties, and states have adopted policies inspired by the movement and that number continues to grow. Several states already enforce "Ban the Box" legislation for state agencies and private employers alike.
Specific rules and regulations may vary. Backgrounds Online encourages all employers to maintain compliance with any applicable federal, state, and local laws.
There's no doubt about it, banning the box can put employers in a tough spot. We're not going out on a limb by saying that business owners and HR representatives are protective of their staff and place of business. So how can you avoid inquiring about an applicant's criminal history while dodging potential liability for poor screening practices? Here are a few strategies:
Update your offer letters to clearly outline the contingency of the job offer. Inform your candidates directly that an offer is not final until thorough background screening is complete.
If you are inquiring about criminal history, make sure that it's related to the position and in line with business necessity.
Review your job descriptions, some may be exempt from Ban the Box by state ordinance.