Texas lawmaker wants to end Austin's 'ban the box' rule
- Texas State Rep. Paul Workman wants to end Austin’s “ban the box” ordinance, which prohibits employers from asking job candidates if they have criminal records until a job offer is underway, reports Watchdog.org.
- Supporters of “ban the box” say that the measure forces employers to base hiring decisions strictly on candidates’ skills and other qualifications. But opponents say the measure discriminates against people of color. Their rationale, based on a study published earlier this year, is that employers will automatically assume African-American men, for example, are likely to have undisclosed criminal pasts and therefore won’t hire them.
- In studies by researchers at the University of Michigan and Princeton University found that white applicants received 45% more call-backs after interviews than black applicants who were as equally qualified.
Opponents of “ban the box” must consider whether employers would pass over black candidates regardless of their credentials and noncriminal backgrounds. Studies have shown that white candidates are more likely to be called back after job interviews than equally qualified black candidates before the “ban the box” rule existed, as well, calling attention to biases that may exist with or without the rule.
Various techniques have emerged to try and reduce bias at the hiring level, including removing names from resumes or even rewording job ads to encourage applicants from all backgrounds. Employers who strive for fair recruiting and hiring practices should periodically audit their practices to ensure fairness.