“Ban the Box” is a national civil-rights movement backed by advocates for job applicants with criminal convictions. Proponents of these laws believe that expanding employment opportunities for individuals with criminal convictions is a major factor in lowering recidivism rates.
Generally the laws prohibit employers from asking about an applicant’s criminal-background history until later in the interview process. Most of these laws prohibit employers from including the “have you ever been convicted of a criminal offense” question on an employment application – thus “banning the box” – and instead limit employers’ ability to ask the criminal-history question until after a conditional offer of employment is made or after an applicant has been selected for an interview.
Advocates argue that “Ban the Box” laws reduce the barriers to obtaining employment for convicted criminals by allowing applicants to demonstrate their skills and qualifications prior to revealing their criminal histories.
A National Trend
In August 2014 New Jersey joined a growing number of states prohibiting employers from asking about applicants’ criminal histories early in the hiring process. Thirteen states have passed statewide “Ban the Box” hiring