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Working with Background Screening Agencies Remains Best Practice as Ban-the-Box Laws Continue to Change & Evolve


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August 13, 2020

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Working with Background Screening Agencies Remains Best Practice as Ban-the-Box Laws Continue to Change & Evolve; Opines CriminalBackgroundRecords.com

Over the course of the last twenty-plus years, ban-the-box legislation has swept across the country and now affects a significant part of the United States. From coast to coast more than 35 states now have a form of Ban-the-Box legislation. And many cities and counties have acted as well. Every day there is potential for new ban-the-box legislation and hiring managers/HR departments should strive to stay current with all changes to law.

Form NELP.org (July 1, 2019)

Nationwide, 35 states and over 150 cities and counties have adopted what is widely known as “ban the box” so that employers consider a job candidate’s qualifications first—without the stigma of a conviction or arrest record. … these initiatives provide applicants a fair chance at employment by removing the conviction history question from job applications and delaying background checks until later in the hiring process. (1)

Adam Almeida adds: “What many hiring managers and HR Departments may not realize is that Ban-the-Box laws have a tendency to change or evolve. Over time flaws or shortcomings can be discovered and changes need to be made to ensure the law is as effective as possible.”

Recently, in Montgomery County (Maryland), members of the county council set out to make changes to existing Ban-the-Box legislation.

From Bethesda Magazine (July 31, 2020):

The Montgomery County Council is considering a bill that would set limits on what information an employer could seek about an applicant’s criminal history.

The employer could not check an applicant’s background until there is a conditional job offer. The employer also could not ask about certain crimes.

The bill, introduced at the council’s meeting on Wednesday, would expand the current “Ban the Box” law. Under that law, employers in the county with at least 15 full-time employees can’t do criminal background checks of applicants and can’t ask about criminal or arrest history before a first interview. (2)

The use of public records, such as criminal history reports, is strictly regulated and fines and penalties for the misuse or inappropriate use of such records can be significant. Staying compliant with law is critical for all companies and organizations.

Laws governing pre-employment background screening change on a frequent basis and these changes can impact a business. Working with a well-qualified third-party pre-employment background screening agency, in order to remain current with existing and pending law, remains a best practice.

Almeida concludes: “Changes to ban-the-box laws in Montgomery County is but a single example of how laws change and evolve, and it is incumbent on hiring managers and HR departments to stay current with those laws.

CriminalBackgroundRecords.com 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 CriminalBackgroundRecords.com.

Notes:

(1) nelp.org/publication/ban-the-box-fair-chance-hiring-state-and-local-guide/

(2) bethesdamagazine.com/bethesda-beat/government/bill-would-prohibit-background-checks-until-conditional-job-offer/

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