For ban-the-box to work, employers must enforce anti-discrimination policies
- New research from the Urban Institute recommends that employers support ban-the-box initiatives by first enforcing anti-discrimination policies, Crain's Detroit Business reports. “Ban-the-box” refers to the removal of boxes on job applications that ask applicants whether they have a criminal record.
- So far, 24 states and more than 150 cities and counties have ban-the-box policies. The research’s authors believe that the benefits of banning the box for ex-offender job applicants outweigh the argument that such policies could increase racial discrimination in the hiring process.
- Besides enforcing anti-discrimination policies, researchers recommend that employers remove racially identifying information from application forms and improve the system for doing background checks, if necessary, to avoid collecting inaccurate information.
Some studies recently emerged that claimed that ban-the-box actually hurt black candidates the most, saying that employers would use "race-based assumptions about criminality" to make decisions. Modern recruiting programs, however, are turning to anti-bias technology in order to ease such issues. Various techniques to reduce bias at the hiring level include removing names from resumes or even rewording job ads to encourage applicants from all backgrounds.
The ban-the-box movement has been gaining strength across the U.S. Many employers instead conduct background checks where ban-the-box is in effect. If employers receive evidence of past criminal activity, they must weigh the risk of hiring applicants against giving them a chance to do the job.