Ban-The-Box Laws

Disclaimer: The resources provided here are for educational purposes only and do not constitute legal advice. If you have questions regarding your background check policy or a particular record, we advise you to consult legal counsel.

What is Ban-The-Box?

Ban the box is a legal movement that calls for banning the question "Have you ever been convicted of a crime?" from job applications. The Ban-the-Box movement urges lawmakers at the federal, state, county, and local level to reduce barriers to employment for the 70 million people in the U.S. who have criminal records. Removing questions about criminal history from job applications prevents employers from screening out otherwise qualified candidates on the basis of a criminal record alone. This kind of screening affects minorities disproportionately and, therefore, can lead to unintended discrimination.

Where do Ban-The-Box Laws Apply?

Ban-the-Box laws are not everywhere. In places where no Ban-the-Box laws exist (or don’t cover a certain size or type of company), you may still see the criminal history question on a job application. Additionally, there are differences in the specific requirements of these laws, which means that requirements can vary from one jurisdiction to another. As of April 2019, 34 states and more than 150 cities and counties have adopted Ban-the-Box laws. In some places, the laws only apply to public sector employers. In other places, both public and private employers must comply.