“Ban the Box” Trend Continues Across the Country
The “ban the box” movement—which seeks to remove questions about criminal history from an employer’s initial employment application—continues to cut across geographic and political divides. In March and April, we blogged about the governors of two Southern states—Republican Governor Nathan Deal of Georgia and Democratic Governor Terrence McAuliffe of Virginia—ordering the removal of the “box” from state job applications. And, within the last month, two more governors—Democratic Governor Peter Shumlin of Vermont and Republican John Kasich of Ohio— have followed suit in supporting such policy.
On April 21, the Governor of Vermont issued an executive order directing the state’s Department of Human Resources to “create and implement a ‘ban the box’ hiring policy that encourages job applications from all . . . otherwise qualified people, regardless of a person’s criminal record.” And, just a few days ago, on May 15, the Governor of Ohio supported the initiative to “no longer have an initial question requiring applicants to disclose all felony convictions” on the state’s civil service applications.
To date, 17 states and approximately 100 localities have “banned the box” in one form another. Though many of these laws only apply to public employers, 6 states and 12 localities have “banned the box” for private employers and several more jurisdictions have adopted the policy for government contractors. Given recent trends, employers should keep up with developing law and make any necessary adjustments to their background check procedures.