You have probably heard the terms "Ban the Box" or "Fair Chance Hiring Policy", but what do they really mean and will they help you get a job? This is hard to say exactly, but what is easy to say is that these laws or policies continue to gain traction. To date over 150 cities and counties across the United States have implemented some form of "Ban the Box" or "Fair Chance Hiring Policy". Even at the Federal level, ban the box laws have gained traction. But what does all this mean and how can they help you?
Ban the box laws are intended to provide job seekers with criminal records a fair chance by removing questions related to criminal convictions from job applications and delaying background checks until later in the hiring process. To date over 29 states and 150 cities and counties have enacted ban the box laws.
In addition to ban the box laws, many of these cities, counties, and states have also enacted fair chance hiring laws. Slightly different from ban the box, fair chance hiring laws typically require employers to consider how a conviction is related to the job the applicant is applying for, the time since the applicant's conviction, and any mitigating circumstances or rehabilitation evidence.
While these laws and policies are a good first step, they are unfortunately not a complete solution for helping returning citizens get hired. First, many of these laws only apply to public service jobs within the city, county, and/or state government agencies. Although many of these cities, counties, and states have begun extending the laws to apply to private employers, there is still a long way to go.
To find out if your county, city, or state has enacted a ban the box or fair chance employment law, find and click on your state in the list below: