Check 'Yes' or 'No': Ban the Box Legislation is No Love Note to Employers

Tuesday, August 29, 2017 - 2:00 am to 2:45 am
Western Food Expo Education - Hot Trends - Hot Trends

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Katherine P. Sandberg
Attorney at Law, Fisher & Phillips LLP


The Legislative movement that is widely known as "Ban the Box" is sweeping the nation, and it is significantly impacting the way that employers can screen job applicants. Although the specific prohibitions vary by jurisdiction, these laws often do much more than just literally prohibit the "yes" or "no" check box in job applications for applicants to indicate whether they have a criminal record. In fact, many iterations of the law include a general prohibition on any method that an employer might use to solicit information about an applicant's criminal history until after an offer of conditional employment is made. After the offer is extended, an employer must often jump through a series of hoops to demonstrate a link between an applicant's criminal history and the job duties of the position if it wishes to revoke the offer because of the criminal history. Employers who fail to comply are subject to penalties and fines that accrue for each violation. Proponents of these laws argue that these laws help integrate former offenders back into society by giving them a "fair chance" at employment. 

There are nine states and 15 cities or counties that prohibit private employers from inquiring into an applicant's cirminal history, and many more are set to join their ranks as the momentum of this movement continues to pick up speed. For example, on February 16, 2017, a bill was introduced in the California Assembly that expands the state's current Ban the Box law to private employers. This presentation will explain what Ban the Box laws are and a brief history of the movement and the issues it purports to address. It will also provide a brief overview of the Ban the Box laws in Los Angeles, Portland, Austin, and Seattle to familiarize the audience with the various forms that these laws can take. Lastly, the presentation's main focus will be on key measures that employers should take to comply with these laws that will apply regardless of where they are located. 

Location: Theater A - Booth 1754

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