Best Practices in Background Screening in the Ban the Box Era

 

To help ex-felons obtain employment and to reduce recidivism, the District of Columbia and over 150 cities and counties (in 20 states) have passed fair chance (Ban the Box) laws removing questions about criminal convictions from job applications. This change allows employers to base their hiring decisions on qualifications first.

These laws apply to the cities and counties themselves. Many of them also apply to private employers including Connecticut, Hawaii, Illinois, Massachusetts, Minnesota, New Jersey, Oregon, and Rhode Island.

It should be noted that Ban the Box fines are big! Just ask Marshall’s and Big Lots (penalties totaling $195,000.)

The National Employment Law Project (NELP) has put together a list of ten principles for employers to follow to update their hiring policies and procedures:

  1. Avoid stigmatizing language.
  2. A background check may be unnecessary for a job position.
  3. Avoid blanket exclusions and instead include an equal opportunity statement on job applications.
  4. If a background check is necessary, only consider those convictions with a direct relationship to job duties and responsibilities and consider the length of time since the offense.
  5. Remove inquiries into convictions from the job application.
  6. Remove self-reporting questions about conviction history.
  7. If a job applicant is rejected because of a record, inform the applicant.
  8. Provide the applicant the right and sufficient time to submit evidence of mitigation or rehabilitation.
  9. Expand the fair change policy to private employers.
  10. Combine data collections and effective reinforcement.

It is important for employers to keep abreast of the different ban the box laws as each has its own set of nuances. For example, each law restricts when an employer can inquire about a person’s criminal history and how it can be used for employment purposes.

Click here to view Cisive’s Ban the Box chart summarizing the policies.

For more information on how Cisive can keep your hiring process compliant, contact us at 866-557-5984 or sales@cisive.com.

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