What U.S. Employers Need To Know About Ban-the-Box Laws

What U.S. Employers Need To Know About Ban-the-Box Laws

When hiring new employees, the HR department and the employer understand the importance of screening, evaluating, and reviewing references and an applicant’s background in the hiring process. These procedures not only ensure that you’re employing high-quality employees but also safeguard your business from hiring people with a bad reputation, a weak work ethic, or criminal records.

In terms of criminal records, you may have heard about Ban-the-Box and the legislation that is taking the country by storm. It’s a law that requires employers and hiring managers to not ask an applicant about their criminal background until later segments in the recruiting process. Since these policies were passed in 1998, 15 states and many jurisdictions have adopted them.

The History of Ban-the-Box Laws

Ban-the-Box laws and other criminal history reform measures are founded on the principle that employers should first determine a candidate’s suitability for a job based on their skills and qualification before asking about their criminal history. As a result, the box that talks about criminal records is banned until the later part of the hiring process.

These policies began when many individuals with a criminal background found it exceedingly difficult to find a job after being convicted. Public leaders, military officials, and human rights advocates agreed that people with criminal histories should be given another chance and job applicants should be evaluated on their qualifications and skill without regard to their criminal history.

Amended Ban-the-Box Laws and Policies

Considering that not all laws are created equal, some places handle criminal reform and Ban-the-Box laws differently. Let’s explore in more detail how some Ban-the-Box requirements differ from location to location.

DeSoto, Texas

Here, the Ban-the-Box laws and policies state that they do not restrict an employer’s ability to reject an applicant for a job for any legitimate reason, including the conclusion that the applicant is unfit for the position based on an individual assessment of the applicant’s criminal history.


According to the revised Ban-the-Box laws and policies in these areas, businesses with more than fifteen employees are required to conduct and provide individual evaluations. A “substantial relationship” between a person’s criminal background and the employment they are applying for or already have must be established by the employer to deny them work.

New York City

Employers must first decide if a candidate is qualified for the job before making a conditional offer of employment, according to the city’s amended Ban-the-Box laws and policies. A criminal background check can be carried out following an employer’s determination that a candidate is qualified and the extension of a conditional offer of employment.

Criminal Background Check Services

Every state has particular requirements for its Ban-The-Box laws. However, they share the idea that the criminal records of applicants should be dealt with after evaluating their qualifications and skills for the job they are applying for.

Being completely informed about your state’s Ban-the-Box laws is crucial for HR managers and recruiters. Work with HR Preferred, a reputable and trusted provider of criminal background check services, to ensure you are conducting an effective and legal hiring process.

Criminal Record Search for Employment

Criminal Records Checks

Hiring a new employee involves weighing numerous factors. As crucial as it is to look at qualifications, experience, and attitude, you must also conduct a criminal background check on each candidate. Background checks allow businesses to make confident and well-informed judgments about whether a prospect is a reliable and capable employee. Let’s take a closer look.

The Importance of Thorough Criminal Records Checks

When you conduct a thorough criminal background check, you can ensure that your company’s image is protected and that your team is trustworthy. Here are some of the benefits of conducting a criminal record search for employment during the recruitment process:

  • Provide a safe and secure work environment by minimizing risks.
  • Protect your assets, your staff, and your clients.
  • Ensure that your company is safeguarded from potential liability claims.
  • Preserve the community’s confidence and respect in your company.
  • Make fair employment judgments.
  • Abide by all applicable industry, local, state, and federal regulations.
  • Promote the safety and security of the public.

What You’ll Discover from a Criminal Record Search

A criminal background check allows you to make a well-informed judgment regarding an applicant and assess the risks connected with hiring someone with a criminal history. Generally, the following information can be included in a criminal background check:

  • Felonies: Offenders who commit felonies face the possibility of spending time in prison.
  • Misdemeanors: Misdemeanors are offenses that are less serious than felonies, but they are nonetheless punished by fines or jail time.
  • Traffic offenses: In most cases, traffic violations are only recorded if they are criminal in character, such as a minor misdemeanor or felonies.

Types Of Criminal Background Checks for Employment

Here are some of the most common types of criminal records search:

Federal Criminal Records Search

If you’re interviewing for managerial, executive, or financial positions, you should run a federal criminal record check on the candidates. The only information you’ll get is on federal records, many of which are for “white collar” offenses. Convictions in criminal cases at the federal level will be included in the report.

National Criminal Database Searches

If a criminal background check is required for employment, a search of the national criminal database can provide a broader scope by looking at records from more than 3,000 jurisdictions across the country. In this sense, searching the national criminal database can provide useful hints to direct specific local inquiries.

County Criminal Background Checks

Local county criminal records checks are the best way to learn about a job applicant’s or employee’s criminal history. A candidate or employee’s criminal background should be checked in whichever jurisdiction they reside.

The Bottom Line

Conducting background screenings, which include criminal record checks and ongoing monitoring, is today’s best practice for recruiting and providing a safe workplace. Criminal record searches are used by businesses to determine whether a job applicant is dishonest or a threat to the company or its employees. They also help businesses in complying with regulations, safeguarding assets, reducing risk, and avoiding expensive claims of irresponsible hiring.

Do you want to learn more about employment background checks? Contact us at HR Preferred today.