It’s something that many people with criminal records dread. That little box on job applications that says, “Have you ever been convicted of a felony?” Many see this box as a deterrent from applying to jobs and believe that their applications will automatically be weeded out if they check “yes.” Around 65 million Americans would have to check “yes.” That’s one in four citizens.
However, there’s a movement making its way around the nation that is being embraced by states and employers alike, it’s known as the Ban the Box Movement.
What does it mean to Ban the Box?
This campaign is asking employers to remove any questions regarding a job applicant’s criminal past from their applications so that individuals with records have more opportunities to be evaluated for the position.
While the question can still be brought up in a job interview and through background checks, this movement will give felons the chance to get their foot in the door and explain in person, why they make the best fit for the situation.
Who has Banned the Box?
To date, over 60 cities and counties, including: New York City, Boston, Philadelphia, Atlanta, Chicago, Detroit, Seattle and San Francisco have removed the question from their applications. Six states, California, Colorado, Connecticut, Illinois, Maryland and New Mexico, have either an order or legislation prohibiting government agencies from including the box on applications. Four other states, Hawaii, Massachusetts, Minnesota and Rhode Island, have the ban for government agencies and have encouraged the ban to extend to private employers.
You can find more specific detail about what each state did here.
In addition, there are employers who have embraced the movement. Target, for example, recently announced that they will remove questions about criminal history on all their applications throughout the country.
Want to learn more about this movement, who it effects and what it means? Check out the video below. It’s a little long, but definitely interesting.
What do you think about the campaign? Let us know below!