The City Council of Richmond, Virginia has unanimously passed a ‘Ban the Box’ ordinance that would to eliminate the question asking job applicants about prior felony convictions on application forms for many city jobs, according to an article on the Richmond (VA) Times-Dispatch website.

The ordinance will prevent initial job applications used by the city from containing “any question pertaining to an applicant’s criminal conviction history” except “to the extent required by federal or state law or for positions that the council, by resolution, has determined should not be subject to this prohibition,” the Times-Dispatch reports.

The City Council also detailed the city jobs that would continue to be subjected to the check-box question requiring applicants to acknowledge prior felony convictions which, according to the Times-Dispatch, included police and firefighters, positions with financial responsibilities and access to confidential documents, and people working with children.

However, the Times-Dispatch reports that the ordinance – which proponents say is intended to prevent applications from being rejected outright based on a conviction that may not be relevant to the job – will not prevent the City of Richmond from conducting background checks and asking about felony convictions during interviews.

The ‘Ban the Box’ movement is rapidly gaining popularity in the United States. A November 2012 Resource Guide from the National Employment Law Project (NELP) shows over 40 cities and counties nationwide – including Boston, Chicago, Detroit, New York, San Francisco, Seattle, and Washington DC – have removed the criminal history question on job applications.

In addition, an October 2012 Briefing Paper from NELP, an organization that focuses on issues affecting low-wage and unemployed workers, reports seven states – California, Colorado, Connecticut, Hawaii, Massachusetts, Minnesota, and New Mexico – have adopted “Ban the Box” policies.

This growing trend of cities and states adopting “Ban the Box” policies removing the criminal history question from job applications is one of the ‘Top Ten Background Check Trends for 2013’ chosen each year by Attorney Lester Rosen, Founder and CEO of Employment Screening Resources® (ESR).

For more information about background checks, visit Employment Screening Resources® (ESR) – ‘The Background Check Authority®’ and nationwide background screening provider accredited by The National Association of Professional Background Screeners (NAPBS®) – at, call Toll Free 888.999.4474, or email [email protected].


About Employment Screening Resources® (ESR):

Founded by safe hiring expert Attorney Les Rosen in 1997, Employment Screening Resources® (ESR) – ‘The Background Check Authority®’– 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 about ESR, visit or call toll free 888.999.4474.

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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 [email protected]. To subscribe to the ESR News Blog Feed, visit To subscribe to the complimentary ESRcheck Report monthly newsletter, please visit