Ban the Box Comes to Baltimore

The Ban the Box movement is on again, as another city has passed a law “banning the box” from employment applications.

The City Council of Baltimore, MD has passed Ban the Box legislation that will prohibit employers with ten or more workers from asking job seekers about their criminal history on job applications.  Inquiries about criminal history can only be made once an offer of employment has been extended.

This legislation is intended to give ex-offenders a fair chance to land a job.  Like other city and state governments that have already passed this type of legislation, they are requiring the box to be removed when asking if the applicant has been convicted of a crime.  The only time the box will be allowed is in situations where the position would bar an applicant with a criminal record from holding that particular job.

It has long been felt by the EEOC and other entities that when an applicant checks the box indicating they have been convicted of a felony in the past that their application may be overlooked in favor of someone without a criminal record.  It’s argued that this does not present a fair opportunity for someone who’s crime may not be relatable to the position they are applying for, or does not take into account any rehabilitation they have gone through or any of their skills and experiences that might be beneficial to the position in lieu of a past crime.

The Ban the Box movement is gaining steam, and has now been adopted by the following local and state governments:  Boston, MA; Cincinnati, OH, Cleveland, OH; Detroit, MI; Kansas City, MO; New Orleans, New York, NY; CA; Philadelphia, PA, Pittsburgh, PA; San Francisco, CA; Seattle, WA; and Washington, DC.

For more information on this legislation, please click here.