2019Ban the Box
The District of Columbia Fair Criminal Record Screening Amendment Act of 2014: The Work and Enforcement by the DC Office of Human Rights

Written By ESR News Blog Editor Thomas Ahearn

In May 2019, the District of Columbia (D.C.) Office of Human Rights (OHR) released a report on its “Ban the Box” law that was enacted in 2014 entitled “The District of Columbia Fair Criminal Record Screening Amendment Act of 2014: The Work and Enforcement by the DC Office of Human Rights” that revealed employers in D.C. have paid nearly $500,000 in settlements under the law since its enactment.

On December 17, 2014, the Fair Criminal Record Screening Amendment (FCRSA) Act – also known as Ban the Box – was enacted to assist in the reintegration of ex-offenders into the community by removing barriers to gainful employment. The report highlights the work OHR has done since the law was enacted, number of complaints filed, and the impact on D.C.’s returning citizens. Highlights of the report include:

  • OHR received a total of 1,824 initial Ban the Box complaints and docketed 1,151 charges for investigation since the law’s enactment (as of September 2018);
  • 55 percent of resolved cases (515 of 944) were settled successfully through mediation;
  • Over $490,000 dollars awarded to complainants through settlements via mediation; and
  • 149 trainings conducted to educate community members and District employers on Ban the Box.

The report found Washington, D.C. was one of first jurisdictions in the U.S. to attach a fine structure to create a stronger enforcement mechanism to its fair chance law. The OHR was called a national model for its innovative outreach and effective enforcement of Ban the Box by the National Employment Law Project (NELP). The full report can be downloaded at https://ohr.dc.gov/page/fcrsareport/2019.

“Ban the Box” is a growing nationwide movement that seeks to advance job opportunities for people with prior criminal convictions by eliminating any inquiry into the criminal history of candidates on job applications, specifically the checkbox that requires candidates to disclose their criminal history. As of June 2019, more than 150 cities and counties, as well as 34 states, have passed Ban the Box laws.

States with Ban the Box laws include Arizona, California, Colorado, Connecticut, Delaware, Georgia, Hawaii, Illinois, Indiana, Kansas, Kentucky, Louisiana, Maryland, Massachusetts, Michigan, Minnesota, Missouri, Nebraska, Nevada, New Jersey, New Mexico, New York, North Dakota, Ohio, Oklahoma, Oregon, Pennsylvania, Rhode Island, Tennessee, Utah, Vermont, Virginia, Washington, and Wisconsin.

In addition, thirteen states – California, Colorado, Connecticut, Hawaii, Illinois, Massachusetts, Minnesota, New Jersey, New Mexico, Oregon, Rhode Island, Vermont, and Washington – as well as the District of Columbia have passed Ban the Box laws for private employers. More ESR News blogs about the Ban the Box movement are available at www.esrcheck.com/wordpress/tag/ban-the-box/.

Employment Screening Resources® (ESR) also offers a complimentary white paper entitled “Ban the Box Now More than the Exception for Employers when Screening” along with the “ESR Ban the Box Resource Guide for States, Counties & Cities” to help both public and private employers understand their responsibilities if they live in one of the many areas where Ban the Box laws have taken effect.

Employment Screening Resources® (ESR) – a leading global background check provider – also offers employers a Ban the Box Resource Page the contains complimentary white papers, infographics, and an interactive map updated with the latest Ban the Box laws. The ESR Ban the Box Resource Page is available at www.esrcheck.com/Legislative-Compliance/Ban-the-Box/.

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.

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