"Ban the Box" Laws

Tuesday, July 25, 2017

In recent years employers have been put under increased legal pressures when they require criminal background checks during the hiring process. Employers want to avoid negligent hiring claims and therefore would like to investigate whether applicants have a criminal background. On the other hand, there is an interest in providing job opportunities to persons with a criminal background. “Ban the Box” advocates have therefore been active to create laws that help persons with a criminal history.  Most of the U.S. population now lives in a jurisdiction with a "Ban the Box" law.  

"Ban the Box" laws started in the public sector but have spread into the private sector via lawsuits and state and local legislation. It is important to understand the local and state laws applicable where you operate to understand what laws your company must follow.

The EEOC’s 2012 Enforcement Guidance on the Consideration of Arrest and Conviction Records in Employment Decisions Under Title VII takes the general view that criminal background checks can have a disparate impact against African-Americans or Hispanics.
The EEOC provides two avenues for employers to defend its usage: formal validation and individualized assessments.

It is important for every employer to consult federal, state and local laws when making hiring decisions, and to contact your attorney for advice.

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