D.C. Government Collects $500K from Employers That Failed to 'Ban the Box'

Roy Maurer By Roy Maurer June 4, 2019
D.C. Government Collects $500K from Employers That Failed to Ban the Box

​City Hall, District of Columbia.

​The District of Columbia (D.C.) has filed more than 1,100 charges against employers for asking about criminal histories on job applications since 2014, when a law that banned the practice took effect. Those charges have netted the city more than $500,000 in fines for failing to "ban the box," according to a report by the D.C. Office of Human Rights.

We've rounded up resources and articles from SHRM Online and other trusted outlets on the news.

Violations Decreasing Annually

The city has received more than 1,800 complaints since the D.C. Council passed the Fair Criminal Record Screening Act, which prevents employers from screening job applicants by checking criminal histories before making an offer.

More than 90 percent of the charges against employers were related to criminal background questions that appeared on job applications, while less than 5 percent involved questions an employer asked during an interview.

The report also noted that the number of charges filed has decreased annually, from more than 400 in fiscal 2015 to fewer than 100 in fiscal 2018.

(The Washington Post)

What Employers Need to Know about Ban the Box Laws

Although ban-the-box laws primarily cover the public sector, many also apply to private-sector employers to protect applicants convicted of a crime from automatic disqualification during the selection process.

The dilemma for HR and hiring managers lies in finding the balance between giving applicants with a criminal history a chance to be evaluated on their qualifications and being liable for negligent hiring.

(SHRM Online)

Federal Ban-the-Box Law Would Apply to Agencies, Contractors

Congress has introduced legislation prohibiting federal agencies and federal contractors from asking about job applicants' criminal history until after making a conditional job offer.

(SHRM Online)

Ban-the-Box Laws by State, Municipality

Some jurisdictions prohibit an employer from asking if an applicant has been convicted of a crime until a specified point in the hiring cycle. Several states also have laws restricting an employer's ability to use credit history when making employment decisions.

(SHRM Online)



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