A seemingly harmless checkmark on a job application might not look like much, but one checkmark could be the basis for discrimination in the hiring process. “Ban the Box” is a national civil rights movement, put together in an attempt to break the stereotypes of people who have conviction histories.
What is “The Box”?
The term “The Box” is referring to the question regarding criminal record on many job applications. Companies often have a section that requests the employee to check the box if they have a criminal record, but it has become controversial because the question might cause discrimination in the hiring process if an employee has a criminal record.
By taking The Box off the application, it gives the candidate the opportunity to share their skills and qualifications during the hiring process before they are asked about their criminal record. Ban the Box doesn’t mean that a company can’t ask about criminal history, instead it delays the background check inquiry until a later point in the hiring process.
Why Ban the Box?
The theory behind the Ban the Box campaign is that it is much more difficult for an ex-offender to re-integrate into society if they have a hard time finding a job. Someone who can’t find a job is more likely to be a re-offender, and the goal is to help the person maintain a better life instead of ending up behind bars again. A job can make all the difference in helping with re-entry issues, helping these people to get back on their feet and integrate back into the community.
It has been said that 1 in 4 adults within the United States has a conviction history, which means there are many opportunities for discrimination in the hiring process. Discrimination in the hiring process has a domino effect on many aspects of life, because it can impact their home life and the ability to provide for their family. The cycle of criminal history can be broken if a person is able to find a good job and become a contributing member of the community.
Fair Chance Policies in Your Local Area
14 states as well as 100 cities and counties have implemented steps to give all candidates a fair chance in the hiring process. It is important that you research your local area to understand the rules and regulations that need to be followed to abide by the Ban the Box guidelines that are in place.
Even if your city or state doesn’t have a civil rights law to Ban the Box on job applications, your company can make the choice to get rid of the box and give applicants a fair chance to show their qualifications before their criminal history is checked.