San Francisco Becomes Fifth City to “Ban the Box”

Thu, February 27th, 2014 - 1:21 pm - By Gordon Basichis

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San Francisco is the fifth city to legislate for employment screening what is commonly known as “Ban the Box.”

Some  believe that by banning the box,meaning where the job candidate is not required to check the box asking if he as criminal records, will level the playing field.  The belief is the human resources manager will not be prejudiced by previous criminal convictions before assessing the candidate’s capability and skill sets.  Proponents believe it helps dilute discriminatory practices.

Opponents believe it puts more pressure on employers to determine criminal histories and how it may impact the job.  The employer must now use  increased background checks to search for additional evidence of criminal behavior.  Opponents also argue that if an employment candidate is of a demographic where criminal behavior is more prevalent, they might automatically reject the client offhand and not

request an interview.   Opponents also point to the dangers of employer negligence where the employer is potentially liable if the candidate with criminal records snaps out on the job and kills or injures other staff members.  the refrain–“Why didn’t they discover this person was a criminal and capable of violent action?

 The idea behind ban the box is not only to quell discriminatory practices during the initial stages of employment screening but to try to give qualified candidates, who had mess up in their lives, and second chance.  In a tough job market this is often easier said than done. As a nation of second chances, in spirit at least it can be a viable solution.  But like most things theoretical, there may be some issue.  But until we know the results, it is certainly worth a try.




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