Ronald C. Rice of Newark, NJ is trying to pass legislation that will prohibit employers from asking job applicants about their previous criminal activity. Affectionately called “Ban the Box” (referring to the box that applicants check when asked if they’ve been convicted of a crime), cities like Philadelphia and Detroit have already adopted this legislation. Supporters feel that employers automatically disqualify applicants with a criminal record, and don’t allow them the opportunity to explain the nature of the crime and/or other mitigating circumstances.
Mr. Rice goes on to explain that for “people who have served their debt to society, this is an opportunity for them to get employment”. Ban the Box may prohibit employers from asking about previous criminal activity, but it doesn’t prohibit them from conducting employment background checks.