Boxed Into a Corner: The Fight to Ban Employers from Boxing out Deserving Job Applicants on the Basis of Criminal Record
Drug Enforcement and Policy Center, No. 20, May 2020
34 Pages Posted: 18 May 2020
Date Written: May 13, 2020
Between 70 and 100 million adults have a criminal record of some kind that are revealed by criminal background checks. One of the most severe and pervasive collateral consequences is difficulty securing gainful employment. Ban-the-Box reform is crucial as a starting point for fair chance hiring, especially in the age of rapidly developing technology and the largely unfettered ability to get information. The availability of criminal records has functioned less as a “public safety” precaution and more like a scarlet letter branded on the chest of millions Americans. Demanding unnecessary disclose of criminal records before a conditional job offer hinders reintegration, increases recidivism, jeopardizes public safety, sabotages the economy, affronts human dignity, and causes devastating harm to society overall. This paper argues that Ban-the-Box laws should be expanded and made uniform across jurisdictions to help prevent against unjust discrimination based on criminal record. The vast differences in the levels of protection provided across Ban-the-Box jurisdictions and their shortcomings are analyzed and model Ban-the-Box legislation that incorporates concepts from the most protective existing laws is proposed.
Keywords: ban-the-box/ fair chance hiring, model legislation, background check, criminal record/ criminal history, employment discrimination, collateral consequences, criminal justice reform/ public interest law
Suggested Citation: Suggested Citation