A tiny box is a giant barrier for millions of Americans.
When asked if they’ve ever been arrested or charged with a crime, some 65 million adults would have to check the box “yes” on job applications.
“In the right situations, criminal background checks promote safety and security in the workplace. However, imposing a background check that denies any type of employment for people with criminal records is not only unreasonable, but it can also be illegal under civil rights laws,” according to a 2011 report, “65 Million Need Not Apply” from the National Employment Law Project.
A “ban the box” movement backed by NELP has been picking up steam. Six states – California, Colorado, Connecticut, Illinois, Maryland and New Mexico – now have either an administrative order or legislation prohibiting government agencies from including the box in an initial application. Four other states – Hawaii, Massachusetts, Minnesota and Rhode Island – have the prohibition for government agencies and have extended the ban to private employers.