- Updated On 26 Aug 2020
Disclaimer: The resources provided here are for educational purposes only and do not constitute legal advice. If you have questions regarding your background check policy or a particular record, we advise you to consult legal counsel.
What is Ban-The-Box?
Ban the box is a legal movement that calls for banning the question "Have you ever been convicted of a crime?" from job applications.
The Ban-the-Box movement urges lawmakers at the federal, state, county, and local level to reduce barriers to employment for the 70 million people in the U.S. who have criminal records.
Removing questions about criminal history from job applications prevents employers from screening out otherwise qualified candidates on the basis of a criminal record alone. This kind of screening affects minorities disproportionately and, therefore, can lead to unintended discrimination.
Where do Ban-The-Box Laws Apply?
Ban-the-Box laws are not everywhere. In places where no Ban-the-Box laws exist (or don’t cover a certain size or type of company), you may still see the criminal history question on a job application.
Additionally, there are differences in the specific requirements of these laws, which means that requirements can vary from one jurisdiction to another.
As of August 2020, 36 states and more than 150 cities and counties have adopted Ban-the-Box laws. In some places, the laws only apply to public sector employers. In other places, both public and private employers must comply. You can find an up-to-date list of Ban-the-Box laws
Does Ban-The-Box Prevent Employers From Running Background Checks
No. Instead, Ban-the-Box laws generally regulate when employers can ask applicants if they have ever been convicted of a crime. In jurisdictions with Ban-the-Box laws, employers are often required to hold off on asking any questions about an applicant’s criminal history (if any), until an offer of employment has been presented to the applicant.
Depending on the jurisdiction, Ban the Box laws may also regulate what steps an employer must follow when taking adverse action on the basis of a background check.
Background check laws are complex and may depend on your jurisdiction. If you have questions about how Ban the Box laws may affect your hiring process, we recommend that you consult with your legal counsel.