Ban the Box Initiatives: How They Affect Your Company

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As of January 1, 2018, California became the 10th state to enact ban-the-box laws for both private employers, as well as public. In the other 40 states, some jurisdictions have simply mandated that employers can't consider convictions or criminal history until later in the hiring process. Under the Fair Chance Act, these laws give applicants a fair opportunity to be considered for a job by preventing employers from excluding applicants with a criminal history from the beginning of the hiring process. By eliminating questions regarding criminal history from the application, employers instead are encouraged to choose a candidate based on their first impression, qualifications, and skills for the job.

What is Ban the Box?

Ban-the-box laws refer to removing the box that appears on job applications requesting you to check if you’ve ever been convicted of a crime, incarcerated or sometimes even arrested. This one question often is a major factor in determining whether or not an employee is given an opportunity to move forward with a job application. Most employers who see that the box has been checked exclude the candidate from proceeding further. Ban-the-box laws provide guidance to employers, ensures the appropriate use of background check information, and delays the examination of criminal history so that all applicants are considered for employment.

What Does This Mean for an Employer?

Despite the common misconception, ban-the-box laws do not restrict employers from performing background checks. Instead, these laws effectively prevent employers from excluding an applicant based solely on their criminal history and restrict employers from including those questions until later in the hiring process.

Depending on the state, some employers are required to wait to inquire about an applicant’s criminal history until after being selected for an interview, or until a conditional offer has been made. Ban-the-box laws differ depending on the state and can prohibit employers from inquiring about a variety of different things, including arrests, warrants, felonies, and incarceration. Many of the laws are exempt from sensitive positions, such as those that involve working with children or law enforcement where background checks are required by the state.

Policies & Procedures

With background check laws varying from state to state, DISA Global Solutions advise customers of the most recent changes and policies. DISA provides background check services for corporate, DOT, and consortium customers ensuring that the procedures remain compliant, especially for those working in safety-sensitive industries and positions.

Background screening helps employers make informed hiring decisions by ensuring the integrity of their organization and maintaining the safety of employees. In 2017, DISA performed more than 400,000 background checks in the oil & gas industry. Of those, more than 4.2% returned violent felonies or something more serious (e.g. A Patriot Act Hit). DISA provides a comprehensive line of background check services including individual products, such as Social Security Number (SSN) validity, state driving records, criminal history, etc., for HR, safety, and security professionals across all industries.

For more than 30 years, DISA has been a provider of workplace safety and compliance services. DISA helps companies make more informed staffing decisions by offering a broad array of industry-leading methodologies to make employee screening faster and more accurate. For more information about DISA call 1-800-752-6432 or email

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About DISA Global Solutions

Founded in 1986, DISA is the industry-leading provider of employee screening and compliance services. Headquartered in Houston, with more than 35 offices throughout the U.S. and Canada, DISA’s comprehensive scope of services includes drug and alcohol testing, background check, occupational health, and transportation compliance. DISA assists employers in making informed staffing decisions while building a culture of safety in their workplace.

DISA Global Solutions aims to provide accurate and informative content for educational purposes only and does not constitute legal advice. The reader retains full responsibility for the use of the information contained herein. Always consult with a professional or legal expert.