According to the Bureau of Labor Statistics, the unemployment rate is less than 4%, a near record low that indicates various strengths in the economy. For employers, economic strength is beneficial as it tends to signal increased sales and services sought by consumers; however, it also means a highly competitive labor market with heightened challenges in finding individuals to fill vacant positions.
When open positions remain vacant longer than preferred, the result is impeded organizational output and overworked employees who assume extra duties until those positions are filled. Ban the Box legislation can help employers increase their applicant pool by surfacing qualified individuals who might have been previously overlooked.
What is Ban the Box?
Research shows that individuals with a criminal history are 50% less likely to receive a call back or job offer due to their past criminal history. Ban the Box legislation is aimed at helping these individuals gain employment by preventing employers from asking criminal history questions on the initial job application.
Hawaii kickstarted the Ban the Box movement when it enabled legislation in 1998. Other state legislators followed suit, though the scope of legislation varies by state. Since certain employer exceptions exist, it is crucial to know the specifics of Ban the Box legislation in each state in which your organization hires. The National Law Employment Project (NELP) offers additional resources and ongoing updates on the Ban the Box movement.
States with Ban the Box
Currently, federal legislation does not exist for nationwide Ban the Box policies for public and private sector employers. Thirteen states, listed below, passed state legislation specifying when criminal history questions can be asked to applicants applying to jobs within the public and private sector. Various municipalities have their own local laws for adherence as well. For a complete list, visit SHRM’s (Society for Human Resources Management) Ban the Box Laws by State and Municipality.
- Hawaii (1998)
- Massachusetts (2010)
- Minnesota (2014)
- Rhode Island (2014)
- Illinois (2015)
- New Jersey (2015)
- Oregon (2016)
- Vermont (2017)
- Connecticut (2017)
- California (2018)
- Washington (2018)
- New Mexico (2019)
- Colorado (2019)
Increasing Opportunity (and Applicants)
With the current and anticipated expansion of Ban the Box legislation affecting employers’ hiring processes, applicant pools will start to increase as individuals with a previous conviction history receive additional consideration. While the employers’ goal remains the same, fill their organization’s vacancies with the applicants best suited for the roles, Ban the Box legislation aims to have employers include individuals for consideration that previously may have been denied initial review due to previous criminal history.
ExactHire Clients Subject to Ban the Box
At ExactHire, we take pride in doing our best to ensure our clients’ satisfaction is the highest possible. We do whatever we can to resolve clients’ current needs and identify potential needs. After you speak with your legal counsel, and if you and your legal team decide changes need to be made to your employment application(s) to comply with legislation, the ExactHire team can work with you to create a new application with the verbiage you specify for compliance.
Also, please know that one of the benefits of using ExactHire’s HireCentric software as your applicant tracking system is that you can create multiple employment applications, each specific to your needs. If you are an existing client looking for more information about updating your current employment application(s) and/or creating additional employment applications, please email firstname.lastname@example.org, and let us know your needs.