Comments on Recent Study on Ban-the-Box and Opines on Implications in Background Screening

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“Recent university research projects have revealed a potential negative outcome as related to 'Ban-the-Box' legislation and its elimination of the criminal history question on employment applications; and, subsequently, may have a significant impact on pre-employment background screening," comments Adam Almeida, President and CEO of Results from recent studies indicate recent policy changes as related to "Ban-the-Box" legislation may not be working as planned.

Criminal Background Records

Criminal Background Records

The use of criminal histories is a complicated issue and the recent research conducted jointly out of the University of Virginia and Oregon seems to indicate major challenges to the “Ban-the-Box” movement.

Ban-the-box policies have substantively changed the manner in which a criminal background check is handled during the application process insomuch that the “box” indicating a criminal history is “banned” from the application and the question and relevance of a criminal history is reviewed after a preliminary offer of employment.

Adam Almeida, President and CEO of comments: “The use of criminal histories is a complicated issue and the recent research conducted jointly out of the University of Virginia and Oregon seems to indicate major challenges to the 'Ban-the-Box' movement.”

“Ban-the-Box” legislation is designed to assist reintegration of formerly incarcerated individuals back into society and gain meaningful employment.

In the United States the “Ban-the-Box” movement has gained major momentum but a recent study highlights major challenges to the overall effectiveness of eliminating the question of a criminal history.

From (Aug. 02, 16):

The well-intentioned goal of these measures is to increase the odds that these individuals find work; the logic goes that if employers can’t see an applicant’s criminal history, they’d be more likely to hire that person, creating more job opportunities for individuals with criminal records looking for a fresh start. (1)

The findings of the study from U of Virginia/Oregon indicate a significant decrease in hiring after implementation of “Ban-the-Box.”

From (Aug. 02, 16):

...headline finding was that young, low skilled black men were on average 5.1%-less likely to be employed after ban the box than before. Young, low-skilled Hispanic men were 2.9%-less likely. (2)

Almeida comments: “These findings are significant insomuch that the question has been raised about the effectiveness of “Ban-the-Box” but, just as importantly, continues to raise questions about the fair, legal, and lawful use of criminal records as part of a pre-employment background screening process. Companies and organizations of all sizes should be concerned and remain vigilant in complying with all laws governing the use of criminal records.”

A similar study, conducted through the University of Michigan and Princeton, had unsettling findings as covered in a recent article posted by the Chicago Tribune website (; Aug. 02, 16):

A large-scale experiment conducted by researchers at the University of Michigan and Princeton University found the laws are effective in removing the disadvantage of having a criminal record, but they may have unintended consequences…Before ban the box, white applicants received 7 percent more callbacks than equally qualified black candidates; after ban the box, the gap swelled to 45 percent. (3)

Studies such as the above clearly outline challenges to “Ban-the-Box” legislation and indicate further challenges to the hiring process.

Almeida comments: “These studies show the challenges faced by individuals seeking to reintegrate into society and get a good job, but the results also clearly indicate the potential struggles employers will continue to have with their hiring policies. Subsequently, hiring policies and the use of criminal history reports will be focused on with greater intensity. Now, more than ever, is the time for an employer to work with a well-qualified third-party background screening company in order to remain fully compliant with potential changes.” is a third-party employment screening company with highly trained operators well versed in the needs and requirements of companies and organizations large and small utilizing public records, such as criminal records, as part of a hiring process. Assisting companies in maintaining full compliance under the law is a central tenet of all client relationships with



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