Blog

 
     

A Mid-Year Ban the Box Compliance Report: Ban the Box

By Michael Klazema on 7/21/2020

2020 has been a hectic year for everyone, but especially for employers. First, businesses had to contend with the stay-at-home orders wrought by COVID-19, either adapting to work-from-home models or implementing a wide range of new safety precautions and state-required mandates rapidly. Next, as the stay-at-home orders lifted, businesses put together protocols for how to resume in-person operations safely. Now, worries about spiking cases and a second wave of the novel coronavirus are upon us, leaving even more uncertainty in their path. 

Amidst all this chaos, many employers may have overlooked the fact that new employment-related laws have gone into effect this year. In this post, we will cover some of the most significant changes that 2020 has delivered for ban the box legislation

The most significant ban the box law to go into effect in 2020 is a Maryland statute that prohibits private employers with 15 or more employees from asking about criminal history in any form—whether on a job application or in a phone screening—until after the first in-person interview. Maryland previously banned the box for public employers in 2013. 

Notably, the “in-person” element of Maryland’s law could prove to be unexpectedly problematic in the light of COVID-19, given that some employers are now conducting entire job interview processes virtually. The law went into effect on February 29, just weeks before the United States economy started to shut down due to the novel coronavirus. 

Several cities and counties have also added new ban the box policies this year, including Waterloo, IowaSuffolk County, New York; and St. Louis, Missouri

The Waterloo policy, which went into effect on July 1, applies to private employers with 15 employers or more. The law dictates how employers are permitted to use background check information, barring any consideration of arrests, expunged records, or charges that are pending. The law also requires employers to consider criminal record findings on a case-by-case basis and identify a “legitimate business reason” if they wish to reject a candidate based on a criminal conviction. This requirement is similar to EEOC guidance, which demands that employers identify a “business necessity” when making an adverse hiring decision based on criminal history. 

Suffolk County’s ban the box ordinance will go into effect on August 25. As with the Maryland and Waterloo policies, the Suffolk County ordinance applies to private employers with 15 or more employees, prohibiting them from asking candidates about criminal convictions on job applications. 

The St. Louis ordinance applies to all private employers within the city limits with ten or more employees. Affected employers are prohibited from “basing job hiring or promotion decisions based on applicants’ criminal histories” unless they can “demonstrate” that the conviction is recent, recurrent, severe enough to raise concerns, or “reasonably related” to the responsibilities of the job. That ordinance goes into effect on January 1, 2021. 

It is essential for every business to comply with all relevant background check and hiring regulations. Beyond ban the box, it is worth understanding EEOC guidance and FCRA compliance among local and state laws and ordinances. Use the backgroundchecks.com Learning Center to learn more about compliance today.

 

Sources:

https://www.forbes.com/sites/alonzomartinez/2020/07/10/what-employers-might-have-missed-in-the-first-half-of-2020-from-ban-the-box-laws-to-marijuana-measures-a-midyear-compliance-update/#32413d83561a

Industry News

Tag Cloud
Categories
Recent Posts

Latest News

  • July 30 A website used for hiring temporary household workers settled with California prosecutors who said the business misrepresented the types of background checks it offered to consumers.
  • July 29

    As the economy recovers from the blow struck by COVID-19, many employers and staffing agencies are getting back to hiring and recruitment. Here are some of the ways in which the pandemic has shifted recruiting—perhaps forever.

     

  • July 28

    Pay equity laws bar employers from asking candidates about salary history—a measure intended to help end the pay discrepancies that women, minorities, and other classes face. Here’s what to know about the pay equity laws that have gone into effect in 2020. 

  • July 23 With COVID-related disruptions likely to continue indefinitely, few unemployed individuals have the option of waiting for a better job market. What should job-seekers keep in mind? 
  • July 22 Hiring has become a significant challenge for many employers, in part due to higher-than-usual unemployment payments. Here’s how employers can not only find candidates but also fast-track their hiring processes during the pandemic. 
  • July 21

    While COVID-19 has held the attention of most employers, hiring-related laws and ordinances have continued to pass the legislature or go into effect. Here are the latest developments in ban the box legislation.

  • July 16 With the Georgia legislature's recent approval of a new Second Chance bill, nonviolent felons may soon have more opportunities. The state joins a growing list of areas offering greater access to expungement.
  • July 15 As the United States regains lost jobs, many businesses are unfreezing their hiring. Here’s why employee background checks are even more critical at this stage than they were before COVID-19.
  • July 14

    60 percent of colleges and universities want to resume all in-person learning this fall, but professors are pushing back. Will the debate lead to a staffing shortage in the higher education sector?

  • July 09 While investments into the technology that employees use to perform daily work are essential, tools for HR matter immensely. Explore the difference that they can make.