Despite New ‘Ban the Box’ Laws Debate Continues to Confuse Use of Criminal Records, Opines

Criminal Background Records

Criminal Background Records

Now, with the new law in Arizona and on-going debate in Iowa, is the time for all hiring managers to ensure polices for pre-employment background screening are fully compliant with law.

In November the Governor of Arizona, Doug Ducey, banned the box, an act which eliminates the question of criminal history on a state employment application, thereby joining many other cities and states that have existing laws, even as recent studies suggest negative effects of ‘ban the box.’ Adam Almeida, President and CEO of opines: “The new law in Arizona combined with negative studies regarding ‘ban the box’ organizations and businesses should be immediately alerted to reviewing and ensuring full compliance.”

The move by Governor Ducey is designed to assist formerly incarcerated individuals with the reintegration into mainstream society. Eliminating the question of a ‘criminal history’ should improve employment chances for ex-convicts. Typically ban-the-box laws only allow criminal background checks to be performed after a conditional offer of employment is made.

From (Nov. 09, 17):

In an executive order Monday, Gov. Doug Ducey directed state personnel officials to “ban the box,” eliminating any questions on initial job applications about whether a person has a criminal record.

None of that keeps the question from coming up. But the concept, according to the governor, is to ensure that people are not eliminated from even being considered. (1)

Laws governing background screening can change frequently and often create confusion over the legal and lawful use of key records, such as criminal history reports.

Almeida states: “The legal and compliant use of criminal history reports continues to shift and change. Whenever a law such as the one in Arizona is put on the books, hiring managers must ensure their pre-employment background screening policies are current.”

In Iowa politics the debate continues over the validity of ‘ban the box.’ A recent study conducted in Massachusetts is cited as evidence regarding the negating factors of ‘ban the box.’

From (Nov. 05, 17):

One recent study of ex-offenders in Massachusetts found that regardless of race people with criminal background records were less likely to get jobs after ban the box laws were implemented than before, according to a report for the Pew Charitable Trusts, a nonpartisan public policy and research organization.

The study, conducted by the Federal Reserve Bank of Boston, found after a ban the box law was implemented in Massachusetts, the average employment rate of individuals with a criminal record declined by 2.6 percentage points when compared with the average employment rate of individuals without a criminal record. (2)

In Iowa, advocates of ‘ban the box’ continue to debate the validity of the study cited as well as others.

From (Nov.05, 17)

Iowa advocates for criminal justice reform, however, said they question the studies’ findings and remain convinced ban the box and fair chance laws will help rehabilitated individuals with a criminal past find employment. (3)

Almeida opines: “As long as laws continue to change, and as long as studies question these laws, confusion will remain. Now, with the new law in Arizona and on-going debate in Iowa, is the time for all hiring managers to ensure polices for conducting employment background checks are fully compliant with law.” is a third-party employment screening company with highly trained operators well versed in the needs and requirements of companies and organizations large and small utilizing public records, such as criminal records, as part of a hiring process.


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