“Ban the Box” legislation is an issue that is garnering attention across the country. The legislation is an attempt to keep employers from asking about past criminal history or activity on their employment applications. While a noble cause, in several instances the bills go well beyond just the application process.

In the Washington metropolitan area, the District of Columbia has passed a “ban the box” bill which prohibits employers from inquiring about previous criminal conduct until a “conditional offer of employment” has been presented. ABC believes this is way too late in the process and unfair to both the employer and the applicant.

Legislation is currently pending in both Montgomery and Prince George’s Counties based on the DC law. ABC has argued that past criminal history is an important piece of information for the employer to have in making a hiring decision. If the intent is to keep employers from arbitrarily ignoring applications with a “yes” response to the past criminal history question, than it would seem reasonable to prohibit the question on the application but allow a discussion at any point thereafter in the process.

Let us know what you think about “ban the box” legislation. It seems all the rage but let’s remember the employer needs to have all the appropriate information before making an offer of employment.

What do you think?