An estimated 64 million Americans have a criminal record. That’s one of every four people in the country. Ban the Box laws refer to the initiative to remove the box where employers ask applicants about previous arrests or criminal records. Major cities in 22 states have passed legislation banning these questions and that number is trending upward.
In June 2014, the Illinois General Assembly passed a Ban the Box law; it is now before the governor and awaiting signature for final approval. It bans employers from asking about or requiring admission about a criminal record of a job applicant until that person is found to be a good fit for that particular position. In addition, employers must consider if there is a justifiable reason to be asking criminal background history questions rather than just having the applicant check a box on an application from the start.
The bill pertains to employers with 15 or more employees and to employment staffing agencies. The law does include exemptions, which can be found here. If signed, this bill will take effect on January 1, 2015, in the state of Illinois.