Magazine article HRMagazine

'Ban-the-Box' Movement Goes Viral

Magazine article HRMagazine

'Ban-the-Box' Movement Goes Viral

Article excerpt

Thirteen states and 66 cities and coun- ties now have "ban-the-box" laws that prevent employers from asking about people's criminal history on job appli- cations. Most laws apply only to public employers, but those that affect all sec- tors are on the rise.

"Civil rights groups and others view ban-the-box initiatives as important toward re-entry efforts by ex-offenders," said Montserrat Miller, a partner in the Washington, D.C., office of Arnall Golden Gregory.

But not everyone sees the movement as a positive one. "The removal of this little check box has potentially made life easier for job seekers with a crimi- nal past, but it has created much confu- sion and frustration for employers," said Angela Preston, vice president of compli- ance and general counsel at background screening firm EmployeeScreenIQ.

The latest states and municipalities to pass laws include:

New Jersey. Signed in August, the law prohibits employers with 15 or more employees from inquiring about an applicant's criminal record during the initial application process. It goes into effect March 1, 2015.

Illinois. In July, Gov. Pat Quinn signed a law preventing checks before an applicant has gone through an interview. It takes effect Jan. 1, 2015, and cov- ers private employers with 15 or more employees. A policy covering public jobs was put into place in 2013.

The District of Columbia. The Council of the District of Columbia approved a measure that takes D.C.'s existing ban-the-box law for public hir- ing a step further, prohibiting private employers from inquiring about a crimi- nal conviction until a conditional job offer has been made. …

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