Philadelphia is another City to Join Ban the Box Trend

By Michael Klazema on 5/1/2012

Very often, when you apply for a job, there is a box on the application which must be checked if you have ever been arrested or convicted. This lets employers know if you have a criminal past and to decide whether or not they want a person with that past to work for them. Because of this box, many people with a criminal past are turned away before they have a chance to even interview.

Last year we already wrote an update on our blog about the increasing amount of initiatives that were preventing the use of the box in some way or another. Now, roughly six month later, more and more cities and counties in the US feel that this is unfair, because some of those people may make great employees, but never get the chance. Not only does this make it hard for them to survive, it deters some from giving up illegal forms of making money. This is why most recently Philadelphia adopted their Ban the Box policy for both public and private positions.

The ordinance in that town stops local government agencies and private enterprises from inquiring into their applicant’s criminal history “during the application process,” defined as the time beginning when an applicant inquires about the employment and ending when the employer has accepted an application, or “before and during the first interview. If the person makes it to the next level, then it is appropriate to ask about their criminal past. Moreover, the policy outright prohibits them from asking about, considering, or sharing information regarding non-conviction arrests that are not pending.

Like many other cities and states Philadelphia is hoping the law will give ex-criminals a chance to prove their worth and to explain their past, which may improve their chances when it comes to landing jobs.If companies do not follow the law, they will be fined up to $2000 for each application containing the box.

Employers will still be allowed to perform background checks, but not until after potential hires have passed the first round of interviews. Then, they are free to use organizations like to check for criminal records on national databases like US OneSEARCH and to check previous work history through employment verification

About - - a founding member of the National Association of Professional Background Screeners (NAPBS®) and cofounder of the Expungement Clearinghouse - serves thousands of customers nationwide, from small businesses to Fortune 100 companies by providing comprehensive screening services.  Headquartered in Dallas, Texas, with an Eastern Operations Center in Chapin, S.C., is home to one of the largest online criminal conviction databases in the industry. For more information about backgroundchecks’ offerings, please visit


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