Thinking Outside the Box: Eliminating the Criminal Conviction Box from Employment Applications

Employment Law

As most employees and employers are aware, a standard employment application normally includes a box or line item for the applicant to document whether he/she has ever been convicted of a crime. In the employment relations realm, however, there exists a growing initiative to “ban-the-box” – meaning that job applications no longer ask about one’s criminal history.

Nearly ten states have adopted ban-the-box policies; among these, five states instituted the law in 2013.[1] Each state’s laws vary. For example, some ban-the-box policies apply only to public employers, while others apply to both public and private employers. Recently, Target announced that it will eliminate the box from its applications nation-wide in 2014. Wal-Mart removed its box in 2010. At the federal level, the Equal Employment Opportunity Commission (EEOC) announced the following in a 2012 Enforcement Guidance Memorandum: “As a best practice, and consistent with applicable laws, the Commission recommends that…

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