f you’ve been paying attention to the news lately – and maybe even if you haven’t – there’s a good chance you’ve heard of something called “Ban the Box.” This is directly related to what NationSearch does for many of its clients, so we thought it would be a good topic to discuss.

What Is “Ban the Box”?

If you’ve ever applied for a job, we’re guessing that you’ve been asked about any sort of criminal history right on the initial application. “Ban the Box” is an initiative to get these types of questions banned from being included on applications. The “box,” which refers to the entire section (or the checkbox itself, depending on who you ask), would be removed entirely if a “Ban the Box” law was to pass.

What Happened in Colorado?

Several states and individual counties have passed “Ban the Box” laws in recent years. Some states, however, have repeatedly voted against it. So far, Colorado has remained squarely in that latter category on the private side, but many government positions in Colorado are now under “Ban the Box” legislation. The movement has continued to gain traction nationally, which means that the legislature could very well follow suit in the near future. But, for now, Colorado’s employers don’t have to make any changes unless they do so voluntarily.

Why Do Applicants Want It?

Applicants who have a criminal background want the legislation to be passed because they feel that it would put them on more equal footing with their competition. They feel as if they’ve served their debt to society and should not be held back in any way from landing a job that they are qualified for. Many businesses agree with the idea that people with a criminal background should be given a second chance, but it can be difficult and time-consuming for applicants to seek out these businesses.

Why Are Businesses Against It?

Businesses have a responsibility to protect their employees, associates, and customers from harm. Conducting background searches is the perfect way to ensure the safety of anyone who works or does business with a company. Although “Ban the Box” laws aren’t restrictive in the technical sense, taking away any type of protection could be seen as problematic. This is especially true with smaller businesses that sometimes don’t have the resources to be as thorough with pre-employment screening as they should be.

Would Employers Still Be Able to Ask About Criminal History?

Although you may believe that “Ban the Box” laws would prevent your business from asking about criminal history, this would be a misconception. If the legislation was to pass, all it would mean is that you can’t ask about criminal history on the application itself. You or your hiring manager would still be able to ask about a person’s criminal history in an interview and/or run a criminal background check for an individual

So, What’s the Big Deal?

Since employers can still ask about criminal history and run background checks, you may be asking yourself, “What’s the big deal?” The argument here is simple – the applicants that would be forced (if they’re being honest, of course) to check the box asking about criminal history believe that they would never even get to an interview. But, if they can get an interview, this would allow them to impress the hiring manager or business owner, thereby improving their chances that the employer would give them a shot.

If you’d like to know more about “Ban the Box” or anything else concerning criminal searches, drug screenings, or other types of background searches and verifications, please reach out to NationSearch. Our professionals can run many types of searches that will help keep your employees, associates, and customers safe and sound.