Ban the Box Policies Removing Questions about Criminal Records from Job Applications Spreading in US

Two new reports from the National Employment Law Project (NELP) reveal that 42 cities and counties and seven states in the U.S. have adopted “Ban the Box” policies that remove questions about criminal history from job application forms and delay them until later in the hiring process to ensure that qualified job applicants with arrest or conviction records are not unfairly shut out from employment opportunities. A press release from NELP – a non-partisan, not-for-profit organization that focuses on issues affecting low-wage and unemployed workers – is available at: http://www.nelp.org/page/-/Press%20Releases/2012/PR-Ban-the-Box-Momentum.pdf?nocdn=1.

According to the NELP Resource Guide ‘Ban the Box: Major U.S. Cities and Counties Adopt Fair Hiring Policies to Remove Unfair Barriers to Employment of People with Criminal Records’ updated in October 2012, the following 42 cities and counties have banned the box:

  • 1. Alameda County, CA; 2. Atlantic City, NJ; 3. Austin, TX; 4. Baltimore, MD; 5. Berkeley, CA; 6. Boston, MA; 7. Bridgeport, CT; 8. Cambridge, MA; 9. Carson, CA; 10. Chicago, IL; 11. Cincinnati, OH; 12. Cleveland, OH; 13. Compton, CA; 14. Cumberland County, NC; 15. Detroit, MI; 16. Durham City, NC; 17. Durham County, NC; 18. East Palo Alto, CA; 19. Hartford, CT; 20. Jacksonville, FL; 21. Kalamazoo, MI; 22. Memphis, TN; 23. Minneapolis, MN; 24. Multnomah County, OR; 25. Muskegon County, MI; 26. Newark, NJ; 27. New Haven, CT; 28. New York, NY; 29. Newport News, VA; 30. Norwich, CT; 31. Oakland, CA; 32. Philadelphia, PA; 33. Providence, RI; 34. Richmond, CA; 35. San Francisco, CA; 36. Santa Clara County, CA; 37. Seattle, WA; 38. Spring Lake, NC; 39. St. Paul, MN; 40. Travis County, TX; 41. Washington, DC; 42. Worcester, MA.

According to an August 2012 NELP Briefing Paper ‘States Adopt Fair Hiring Standards: Reducing Barriers to Employment of People with Criminal Records,’ there are currently seven states have adopted ban the box reform (six states with statutes and one state with an administrative directive):

In April 2012, the U.S. Equal Employment Opportunity Commission – the agency that enforces federal laws prohibiting employment discrimination – voted to approve updated Enforcement Guidance on the Consideration of Arrest and Conviction Records in Employment Decisions Under Title VII of the Civil Rights Act of 1964. In the updated Guidance, the EEOC endorsed the “ban the box” policy as a best practice for all public and private employers to comply with the nation’s civil rights laws. The complete text of the updated EEOC Guidance is available at http://www.eeoc.gov/laws/guidance/arrest_conviction.cfm.

The NELP Resource Guide ‘Ban the Box: Major U.S. Cities and Counties Adopt Fair Hiring Policies to Remove Unfair Barriers to Employment of People with Criminal Records Resource Guide’ is available at: http://www.nelp.org/page/-/SCLP/2011/CityandCountyHiringInitiatives.pdf?nocdn=1. The NELP Briefing Paper ‘States Adopt Fair Hiring Standards: Reducing Barriers to Employment of People with Criminal Records’ is available at: http://www.nelp.org/page/-/SCLP/ModelStateHiringInitiatives.pdf?nocdn=1.

To help employers comply with updated EEOC rules on the use of criminal records, Attorney Lester Rosen, Founder and CEO of background check firm Employment Screening Resources (ESR), has written a new whitepaper: ‘Practical Steps Employers Can Take to Comply with New EEOC Criminal Record Guidance.’ The complimentary whitepaper by Rosen is currently undergoing a controlled release and is available only to employers interested in screening by emailing EEOCwhitepaper@esrcheck.com. Rosen has also just completed an updated edition of his comprehensive guide to background screening, ‘The Safe Hiring Manual,’ which contains an entire chapter devoted to the updated EEOC Guidance and “ban the box” For more information, visit: http://www.esrcheck.com/SafeHiringManual.php.

For more information about legally compliant criminal background checks as part of a Safe Hiring Program (SHP), visit Employment Screening Resources (ESR) – ‘The Background Check Authority’ and a nationwide background screening firm accredited by The National Association of Professional Background Screeners (NAPBS®) – at http://www.esrcheck.com/, call Toll Free 888.999.4474, or email customerservice@esrcheck.com.

Sources:
http://www.nelp.org/page/-/SCLP/2011/CityandCountyHiringInitiatives.pdf?nocdn=1
http://www.nelp.org/page/-/SCLP/ModelStateHiringInitiatives.pdf?nocdn=1
http://www.nelp.org/page/-/Press%20Releases/2012/PR-Ban-the-Box-Momentum.pdf?nocdn=1

About Employment Screening Resources (ESR):

Founded by safe hiring expert Attorney Les Rosen in 1997, Employment Screening Resources (ESR) – ‘The Background Check AuthoritySM’– provides accurate and actionable information that empowers employers to make informed hiring decisions for the benefit of their organizations, employees, and the public. CEO Rosen literally wrote the book on background checks with “The Safe Hiring Manual” and ESR is accredited by The National Association of Professional Background Screeners (NAPBS), a distinction held by a small percent of screening firms. Employers choosing ESR know they have selected an agency meeting the highest industry standards. To learn more, visit http://www.esrcheck.com, call 888.999.4474, or email customerservice@esrcheck.com.

About ESR News:

The Employment Screening Resources (ESR) News blog – ESR News – provides employment screening information for employers, recruiters, and jobseekers on a variety of topics including credit reports, criminal records, data privacy, discrimination, E-Verify, jobs reports, legal updates, negligent hiring, workplace violence, and use of search engines and social network sites for background checks. For more information about ESR News or to send comments or questions, please email ESR News Editor Thomas Ahearn at tahearn@esrcheck.com. To subscribe to the complimentary ESRcheck Report monthly newsletter, please visit http://www.esrcheck.com/Newsletter/.