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Written By ESR News Blog Editor Thomas Ahearn

Two studies on “Ban the Box” policies that prevent employers from asking job applicants if they have a criminal record on initial applications – one by The Brookings Institution and the other by the University of Chicago – claim that these well intentioned laws meant to help ex-offenders re-enter the workforce may have the unintended consequence of causing more harm than good for minority job seekers.

Ban the Box legislation is designed to help the estimated 65 to 70 million adults in the United States with criminal records – a disproportionate number of whom are African-American or Hispanic – have a fair chance at finding employment by removing the “box” job applicants are asked to check on applications if they have a criminal record and delaying such questions until later on in the hiring process.

The Brookings Institution study measured the effects of Ban the Box policies on the employment of young and low-skilled men and found African-American and Hispanic men without college degrees were “significantly less likely” to be employed after Ban the Box policies were implemented. This unintended consequence of Ban the Box policies run counter to reducing racial disparities in employment.

The University of Chicago study found that before any Ban the Box policies took effect that white job applicants were only slightly more likely to receive a call back from an employer for jobs than black job applicants. However, after Ban the Box policies were implemented, white job applicants were four times more likely to receive a call back from an employer for employment than black job applicants.

As reported earlier by ESR News, the Ban the Box movement has spread across the United States to more than 100 cities and counties. In addition, California, Colorado, Connecticut, Delaware, Georgia, Hawaii, Illinois, Louisiana, Maryland, Massachusetts, Minnesota, Missouri, Nebraska, New Jersey, New Mexico, Ohio, Oregon, Rhode Island, Vermont, and Virginia have passed Ban the Box legislation.

Employment Screening Resources® (ESR) has released a complimentary whitepaper written by ESR founder and CEO Attorney Lester Rosen – ‘Ten Critical Steps for Ex-Offenders to Get Back into the Workforce’ – to help job applicants with criminal records reenter the workplace. This whitepaper is available at


ESR Offers Employers Ban the Box Information

Employment Screening Resources® (ESR) – a global provider of fast, accurate, affordable, and compliant background checks – supports fair and information Ban the Box legislation. ESR offers employers a Ban the Box Information Page with news and resources about the Ban the Box movement at To learn more about ESR, please visit

NOTE: Employment Screening Resources® (ESR) does not provide or offer legal services or legal advice of any kind or nature. Any information on this website is for educational purposes only.

© 2016 Employment Screening Resources® (ESR) – Making copies or using of any part of the ESR News Blog or ESR website for any purpose other than your own personal use is prohibited unless written authorization is first obtained from ESR.


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