Ban the Box
What Is “Ban the Box”?
Ban the Box is a national movement offering a “second chance” to job applicants with criminal backgrounds. Ban the Box removes the job application checkbox that asks about past crimes. Studies show that this small change dramatically increases ex-offenders’ employment and reduces recidivism rates.
VBSR’s Leadership Support
Passing Ban the Box was one of VBSR’s priorities in the 2016 legislative session. The bill passed with firm support from Democrat and Republican Legislators. VBSR members such as Ben & Jerry’s, Northland Design & Construction, and Wright Jones Law testified in support of the bill at the State House in Montpelier.
What are the Effects?
A good job is essential to rebuilding a life after incarceration, and unemployment is rampant for ex-offenders, as more than 60% are without a job one year after release. Luckily, the Ban the Box policies have a clear record of working. Durham, NC, banned the box for government jobs in 2011, and the city now employs nearly seven times the number of people with criminal backgrounds.
How Can You Comply?
Vermont’s Ban the Box law will begin July 1, 2017. To comply, companies have removed the question from their job applications. It’s actually that simple – just delete the question from your company’s printed or online job applications. You can still ask about a criminal history during a job interview and conduct a background check. The law contains some exemptions for certain industries or jobs that are prohibited by law from hiring felons.
The law gives job applicants a chance to explain the circumstances of their criminal conviction and the steps they’ve taken to rebuild after release. Fair chance hiring practices focus on reviewing an applicant’s experience first, and then considering their criminal background. If you have at least one employee in Vermont, the law applies to you.