Obama’s Measure to Ban-the-Box at the Federal Level Makes Critical Change in Use of Criminal Reports; States CriminalBackgroundRecords.com

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Recently President Obama enacted a measure to Ban-the-Box at the Federal level, a measure which will eliminate the potentially exclusionary question regarding criminal history from all applications of employment for the Federal level. Adam Almeida, President and CEO of CriminalBackgroundRecords.com states: “The move by the President on November 2nd is a game-changer insomuch that laws governing the use of criminal records at the Federal level could significantly affect criminal record use in all areas of pre-employment screening and across all jurisdictions.”

Criminal Background Records

Criminal Background Records

Changes in the legal and lawful use of criminal history reports, as made by the President’s action, will force employers to be even more mindful of their pre-employment screening policies.

With the move by President Obama to eliminate any question of a criminal history on federal employment applications and, subsequently, changing the rules as to when the question regarding criminal history can be investigated, the landscape regarding the use of criminal background checks has forever been changed.

Adam Almeida, President and CEO of CriminalBackgroundRecords.com states: “Changes in the legal and lawful use of criminal history reports, as made by the President’s action, will force employers to be even more mindful of their pre-employment screening policies as well as the legality of those policies. Certainly now is the time for these employers to work with third-party background screening companies to stay fully compliant with these evolutionary rule changes.”

Ban-the-box legislation essentially removes the question of a criminal past or history from the initial employment application as well as the timing of any query regarding criminal history.

Almeida states: “Generally ban-the-box legislation states that the question of criminal history and, thereby, the allowance of a criminal history investigation, can only occur after the initial offer of employment.”

Further, ban-the-box legislation is not a single entity but a single heading for a variety of enacted laws across the country.

From Vox.com (Nov. 02, 15):

"Ban the box" (or, as some advocates call it, "fair-chance hiring") doesn't refer to a single law or policy. There are 19 states and more than 100 cities with some form of ban the box — but they take a lot of different shapes.

Some ban-the-box policies, like the federal one Obama is announcing, only apply to governments (or in some cases, to governments and contractors); some apply to any employer in the state. Some ban-the-box policies simply delay the point in the process at which an employer can ask about criminal history; others prohibit the employer from finding out anything about an applicant's criminal history until the company is ready to hire him or her. (1)

While Ban-the-Box legislation differs from place to the place, the end result is essentially the same: Creating an equal starting point for individuals seeking employment. Leveling the playing field allows individuals greater access to employment across a broader spectrum of working class.

From MSNBC.com (Nov. 02, 15):

Research shows the existence of a criminal record can reduce an employer’s interest in an applicant by about 50% and that when white and black applicants both have records, employers are far less likely to call back a black applicant than a white one. As a 2009 re-entry study in New York City found, “the criminal record penalty suffered by white applicants (30%) is roughly half the size of the penalty for blacks with a record (60%).” (2)

Almeida states: “In the President Obama’s action highlights the increased expansion of Ban-the-Box legislation and an underlying urgent need for employers to utilize third-party background screening companies in order to remain compliant with fast-changing laws governing the use of criminal histories as part of employment screening policies.”

CriminalBackgroundRecords.com is a third-party background screening company. Highly trained operators can provide up-to-date and current information regarding the fair, legal, and lawful use of all public records, including criminal history reports. CriminalBackgroundRecords.com can provide the information employers need to make well-informed decisions.


(1)    vox.com/2015/11/2/9660282/obama-ban-the-box
(2)    msnbc.com/msnbc/obama-bans-the-box

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