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.