In fact, in certain regulated industries, such as financial services, healthcare, and transportation, you must know if something in a candidates’ background prohibits them from working in your industry. Before you check, you’ll have to make sure you follow applicable background screening and “ban the box” laws.
“Ban the box” laws dictate when you can begin a criminal records search during the hiring process. Not all state and local laws are the same, and they do not always apply to all employers. As a result, depending on where you hire, you may need to design your hiring policies and processes to take into account applicable laws across multiple locations. If you violate “ban the box” restrictions in just one location, your organization can be subject to costly lawsuits and fines.
The Importance of Staying Up-to-date with “Ban the Box” Laws
Since 1998, when Hawaii passed the first “ban the box” law, 35 states and dozens of localities have passed similar laws. All across the country, “ban the box” laws continue to expand. As recently as February 2020, Maryland became the most recent state to revise its “ban the box” law to include all employers with 15 or more employees. Previously, the law applied to public city and state employers only.
“Ban the box” laws are not consistent across locations. They can vary according to a range of criteria, including the following:
- Which private and public employers the law covers
- When employers are permitted to ask about criminal history
- What steps employers must follow before considering adverse action based on criminal history results
Understanding and staying current with “ban the box” laws is essential for a well-run hiring process. As your trusted background screening provider, Corporate Screening can help you find an optimal balance between staying informed about the individuals you hire and avoiding the penalties of noncompliance. Follow our location-specific “ban the box” listing and map to understand the laws in your area.