On November 2, 2015, President Obama announced new executive action to “ban the box” by requiring federal agencies to wait until later in the hiring process to inquire about an applicant’s criminal history. In addition, the President is supporting efforts in Congress to impose similar ban-the-box requirements on the entire federal government as well as federal contractors.
According to the press release, “the President is directing the Office of Personnel Management (OPM) to take action where it can by modifying its rules to delay inquiries into criminal history until later in the hiring process.” This action is intended to allow those with prior criminal histories to receive fair consideration for employment in the federal government.
The President’s executive action follows a number of states and municipalities that have adopted similar “ban the box” requirements. In Minnesota, ban-the-box legislation took effect in January of 2014. A number of other states have similar laws.
Takeaway: The recent executive action to ban the box for federal agencies is reflective of a broader trend towards requiring employers to wait until later in the hiring process to inquire about an applicant’s criminal history.