The idea of getting employers to hire more ex-offenders has gained a lot of momentum over the past few years. From the Federal Department of Justice and Equal Employment Opportunity Commission (EEOC) on down through states and local governments, employment laws and rules have been adopted to limit discrimination against job candidates who have a criminal record.
Perhaps the most visible component of this trend has been the proliferation of ‘Ban the Box’ laws. The Ban the Box trend in employment law has spread to at least 23 states and over 100 local jurisdictions, and its growth rate has accelerated in the past couple years. Coupled with case law and best practice anti-discrimination guidelines from the EEOC, Ban the Box means that every employer ought to design a hiring process that complies with these regulations.
Coping with Ban the Box
What should employers know about Ban the Box? And how can they adapt to it in the hiring process? These are questions we address in our new e-book, Hiring in a Ban the Box World, which is available as a free download. The e-book will help employers understand the background and rationale for Ban the Box, its conceptual framework and how that is translated into law, and what specific implications it has for the design of the hiring process.
Download your copy of Hiring in a Ban the Box World now:
Employers should not be misled by the fact that various jurisdictions have adopted different versions of Ban the Box into thinking there is no common purpose. According to the Ban the Box campaign, the common theme in all of these laws is “to give people with past convictions a fair chance” to get a job. The goal is to reduce hiring discrimination against applicants with a conviction. The basic tool in almost all of these laws is to postpone screening for criminal background until well into the hiring process: ‘Ban the Box’ means never using the criterion of being an ex-offender as the single factor that excludes someone from a job.
At the Federal level, the EEOC has published guidance for employers in how to use arrest and conviction records in making employment decisions. This guidance can be traced very directly to the Ban the Box movement, with an emphasis on “disparate impact” discrimination. Disparate impact means that the outcome of a hiring process may discriminate against a protected class—such as race or gender—under civil rights law even if the employer uses the same process to screen every applicant.
Federal rules and best practice guidelines converge on the idea that every applicant should be treated as an individual. Postponing the criminal background check is compatible with the idea that an individualized assessment will be done before excluding an applicant for a criminal conviction.
Our e-book goes into detail on the kinds of information you would seek in an individualized assessment, and into the way you would structure a hiring process to make use of it. Every employer has the right to use criminal history in making employment decisions. But you ought to do it the right way. Find out how in Hiring in a Ban the Box World.