What You Need to Know About the “Ban the Box” Ordinance
Hiring in Kansas City just got a new wrinkle with the “Ban the Box” ordinance. The new ordinance, which becomes effective on Saturday, June 9, affects private employers of six or more employees in the area. Lawmakers signed Ordinance No. 180034 into law on Feb. 1, taking effect this month. Kansas City is one of 150 cities to enact the Ban the Box law. The law does not pertain to employers in Kansas, only in Missouri.
Ban the Box is an international campaign that advocates for the civil rights of ex-offenders by removing the checkbox question asking if applicants have a criminal record. The campaign, which began in Hawaii in the late 1990s, states that candidates with a criminal record will have more difficulty obtaining a job, resulting in unemployment which makes it more likely for a re-offence to occur.
Prior to the June date, lawmakers asked employers to consider the extent to which they looked at an applicant’s criminal history. The Ban the Box ruling encourages employers to take a more detailed look at an applicant’s employment history before considering the question of criminal offense. Only after demonstrating the proper qualifications and interviewing for a position can an employer conduct an inquiry in the form of a background check among all final candidates.
Ban the Box does not apply when employers must exclude applicants because of regulations and/or state or federal law. “Employers may only take adverse action based on criminal record information if the offenses are ‘reasonably related to the duties and responsibilities of the position,’” according to the Society for Human Resource Management.
- Review current job applications
- Revise interview guidelines
- Consider existing policies and procedures
- Check timing for the request of a candidate’s criminal history
- Update guidelines to reflect the Ban the Box initiative
- Analyze documentation for legal compliance
This article is brought to you by Staffing Kansas City, a Kansas City employment agency that provides “Personnel Services with a Personal Touch.”