Ban the Box

Author: David B. Weisenfeld, XpertHR Legal Editor

One of the fastest-moving trends in employment law involves the plethora of "ban the box" laws that have sprouted up in a dozen states and more than 60 municipalities. The name stems from the box on job applications that prospective employees are often asked to check if they have ever have been convicted of a crime. These laws make it illegal to include criminal history questions on initial job applications.

The primary goal behind these measures is to prevent qualified, rehabilitated job applicants from being automatically excluded from consideration without the chance for an interview. Ban the box laws are also thought to reduce recidivism.

Many of these laws are limited to public employers or, in the case of municipalities, city job applications. However, the tide is changing noticeably. In 2014 alone, Minnesota and Rhode Island had "ban the box" laws take effect that extend to most private employers with Illinois set to join them.

Meanwhile, a host of cities now "ban the box" for private employers, including a few that bar criminal history inquiries until after an interview has taken place or a conditional job offer has been extended. Using XpertHR's various Tools and resources can help an employer stay abreast of this "ban the box" trend.

Quick Reference

Ban the Box - Chart


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Ban the Box Legislation