Kansas City, Missouri is the latest city to change their hiring laws in an effort to give individuals with criminal records a chance at employment. To support this goal, they have added a Ban the Box ordinance to their books.
“Ban the Box” refers to a movement that is seeking to remove the check box on job applications regarding the applicant’s criminal past. The Ban the Box ordinance delays this line of inquiry until later down the road in the hiring process. This allows otherwise qualified applicants to make their case and a positive impression before this information is revealed.
Giving Reformed Ex-Offenders a Chance At a New Life
The goal is to give persons with a criminal record a fair shake and an increased chance of getting hired despite mistakes they may have made in the past. The “Ban The Box” ordinance adopted by Kansas City, Missouri bars both public and private employers from inquiring about the criminal records of job applicants in the first phase of the screening process. The ordinance will take effect June 9, 2018.
The “Ban The Box” ordinance movement began in 2003 and has been growing and spreading rapidly throughout the U.S. As of February 2018, 30 states and over 150 counties and cities have passed Ban the Box legislation into law for government hiring. Some of these areas have also extended Ban the Box hiring policies to apply to private employers.
Many persons with criminal records face an uphill battle after being released from prison. While they have served their time and have hopefully had a reformative and transformative experience, many employers are hesitant to hire persons with a criminal past.
The Ban The Box Ordinance Can Apply to Both Government and Private Enterprises in Some Areas
However, a great many of these persons are reformed and just looking to get a fresh start in life. Many have learned from their mistakes and are ready to forge a new path of honest living as productive members of society. If they have the necessary skills, knowledge and abilities for a job, they should at least be considered for the position. This is the philosophy behind the Ban the Box ordinance movement.
The new Ban the Box ordinance was signed by Missouri Governor Jay Nixon in April 2016 via Executive Order 16-04. State agencies will be required to reduce the barriers to employment for ex-offenders through removing queries about criminal history from job applications. Persons seeking employment with Kansas City will not be asked about their criminal past in the initial phases of pursuing a job.
Nearly One-Fourth of the U.S. Population Has a Criminal Record
There are around 70 million ex-offenders in the U.S., according to the National Employment Law Project (NELP). These numbers translate to around one in four adults – close to 25 percent of the population.
As laws related to screening and employment shift and change, businesses must be prepared to handle a range of detailed and overlapping regulations. Doing so improperly can result in poor hiring decisions, litigation and unnecessary headaches.
This is where partnering with an experienced employment screening company can be indispensable. A screening professional can take the guesswork out of the screening process so that it conducted thoroughly, properly and always in compliance with current laws.
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