Nationwide Efforts to “Ban the Box”

50 municipalities and 9 states have removed questions about criminal record from job applications, opting to ask later in interview process; a sign that the nationwide movement to reduce unfair barriers to employment for people with criminal records is gaining momentum. The commonsense ban-the-box policy postpones criminal history inquiries until later in the hiring process to give qualified workers with criminal records a fair shot at a job. Contributing to the momentum, the U.S. Equal Employment Opportunity Commission has endorsed the policy of removing the conviction history question from job applications as a best practice for all public and private employers. The nine states that have embraced the policy so far are: Colorado, California, Connecticut, Illinois, Maryland, Massachusetts, New Mexico, Minnesota, and Hawaii. “With 50 local municipalities and nine states now on board, the ban-the-box movement is fast approaching the tipping point where it will be embraced and become an accepted practice for employers,” said Christine Owens, executive director of the National Employment Law Project.

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