Ban the Box? Two sides to the argument

By Adam Robinson,
February 7, 2014

The term “ban the box,” is showing up more and more on HR blogs, business news sites, and in the minds of franchises.

What is “the box?”

It’s the check box asking about a criminal record seen on paper applications and online application tools that some employers use to screen out candidates.

For many industries, the check box makes sense. Our customer, Lenny Verkhoglaz the CEO of Executive Care, made this comment in the February edition of Franchise Times, “We have a responsibility to our clients who put trust in us to provide care, to make sure people going into their homes are not criminals, or batter them, or worse.”

But CEO of 18/8 Fine Men’s Hair Salons, Scott Griffiths has a completely opposite viewpoint. He believes his friends from high school who partook in criminal activities, if caught, would not be able to get jobs these days.

“That filter is a cruel cruel taskmaster,” Griffiths stated in the article titled Ban the Box?.

Nearly 65 million Americans, or more than one in four adults, have a criminal record for either an arrest or conviction, according to the National Employment Law Project. Today, the check-off box is outlawed in seven states and more than 50 counties and cities that have passed “Ban the Box” regulations.

Pros and Cons of Banning the Box:

Pro: Judging by how quickly states are outlawing the box, you can get a head start and remove the box from your hiring process. This will save you a headache and a massive amount of paperwork in the long run.

Con: Own a franchise location or business that provides services to keep people safe? If you “ban the box,” there’s a chance you could interview and eventually hire someone with a criminal record. This doesn’t mean they will harm your clients, but sometimes it’s better to know why they have a criminal past.

In the end, the ultimate decision is up to the franchise owner or business owner. Griffiths summed it up for all by saying, “Isn’t it far better to make a mistake on that one person than to filter out 50 great people?”

If you are still weighing the pros and cons of banning the box, perhaps you should be doing reference checks? Learn how to do them right by downloading our ebook.


About the Author

Adam co-founded Hireology with the mission to help growing companies make better hiring decisions through data and better technology. Adam is passionate about entrepreneurship, donating time to a number of organizations that support the entrepreneurial cause. Adam completed his undergraduate study at the University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign, and received his MBA from DePaul University in Chicago, IL.

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