Ban the Box Legislation and Criminal Background Checks for Employment
In a previous article we discussed whether Employers can obtain criminal record information during the application for employment process and deny employment based on those findings. Many states and municipalities have passed “Ban the Box” legislation to make this process illegal. In general, Ban the Box legislation requires employers to delay the inquiry into conviction history until later in the hiring process, thereby giving potential employees to fair chance to showcase their experience and talents without the taint of a criminal conviction which can cause an employer to unfairly pre-judge an applicant and deny their chance at employment simply on the basis of a criminal record. Some of these laws may require an employer to take into account time passed since the offense, whether the offense is related to the job position, evidence of rehabilitation, and adopting strong standards of accuracy and transparency to protect workers against arbitrary treatment in the hiring process. There are a total of 23 states that have adopted Ban the Box Policies including California, Colorado, Connecticut, Delaware, Georgia, Hawaii, Illinois, Maryland, Massachusetts, Minnesota, Missouri, Oklahoma, Oregon, Rhode Island, Tennessee, Vermont, Virginia and Wisconsin. Seven states, including Hawaii, Illinois, Massachusetts, Minnesota, New Jersey, Oregon and Rhode Island, have removed the conviction history question on job applications for private employers. In Pennsylvania, the City of Philadelphia has passed a Ban the Box ordinance, however, there is no state law adopting those protections with the exception of 18 Pa. C.S. § 9125, which requires employers to assess whether convictions “relate to the applicant’s suitability for employment in the position for which he has applied” before using the information to take adverse action.