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Mid-Year Check-In on Ban-the-Box

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July 9, 2020 Return to News & Events

Mid-Year Check-In on Ban-the-Box

In the world of pre-employment background screening new Ban-the-Box laws dominated headlines, but with the outbreak of Covid 19, Ban-the-Box has taken a bit of a backseat. But laws continue to change.

In 1998 Hawaii became the first state to ban-the-box, a law that essentials “bans” the question of criminal history on an employment application. Since that first law multiple states and municipalities have followed suit. With every passing year ban-the-box laws are enacted with the goal of assisting those with criminal background records in attaining gainful employment.

Ban-the-box laws are often complex and may cover every detail.

In recent months several jurisdictions have moved to close loopholes in respective ban-the-box laws or modify the law in general in order to cover a broader cross section of individuals seeking employment.

In Minnesota, one of the first states to follow Hawaii with ban-the-box legislation, is working on updating their law and close a loophole that still required the criminal history on some state boards and commissions.

From on June 16, 2020:

In recent years, even as Minnesota was considered a pioneer in ending the practice of asking job seekers about their criminal histories, it somehow was still posing the question to applicants for one class of job: appointments to state boards and commissions. (1)

Pennsylvania legislation is working with the governor of that state to correct licensing policies to be more inclusive of individuals with criminal records.

From from July 2, 2020:

Building on criminal justice reforms and fulfilling a recommendation to modernize job licensing, Governor Tom Wolf signed Senate Bill 637, which removes outdated licensing barriers so skilled workers with criminal records can get a second chance and start good careers.

The governor has advocated for sweeping changes to the licensing process for years. (2)

A bigger move is currently being worked on at the federal level by Congressman David Trone (D-Md) and Congresswoman Maxine Waters (D-Calif), one that would Ban-the-Box across the country.

From from June 12, 2020:

U.S. Rep. David J. Trone (D-Md.) has introduced a bill that would remove the requirement to inform employers of a job applicant’s previous criminal history.

The Workforce Justice Act, introduced by Trone and House Financial Services Committee Chairwoman Maxine Waters (D-Calif.), requires states to implement “ban the box” policies that prohibit private employers from asking about the criminal history of applicants before an offer of employment.

The aim is to remove the stigma of individuals with criminal records and provide them a fair chance to compete in the job market. Seventy-five percent of formerly incarcerated individuals remain unemployed after one year of release. (3)

Adam Almeida, President and CEO of states: “With continuous change to the laws governing the use of criminal history records a best practice remains for hiring managers to work with a well-qualified third-party background screening agency in order to maintain full compliance with law.” is a third-party employment screening company, an advocate of SHRM, a member in good standing with the PBSA (Professional Background Screening Association) and for over 17 years has maintained an A+ Rating with the BBB (Better Business Bureau). The company has highly trained operators well versed in the needs and requirements of companies and organizations large and small utilizing public records, such as criminal background records, as part of a hiring process. Assisting companies in maintaining full compliance under the law is a central tenet of all client relationships with





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