Washington D.C.’s “Ban the Box” law strongly enforced in its first full year

Over 400 individuals alleged a violation of D.C.’s Fair Criminal Record Screening Amendment Act—legislation otherwise known as “Ban the Box”—in the law’s first full year on the books, according the District of Columbia’s Office of Human Rights (OHR). 

The law, which began being enforced in Dec. 2014, banned employers in the District from making inquiries into applicants’ criminal histories on initial job applications and throughout the interview process. Recently, President Obama also signed legislation that “banned the box” for federal hiring and hiring by federal contractors.

Exactly 488 complaint inquiries were received, of those 488 complaints, 365 of them were docketed and have been resolved or are currently making their way through mediation. According to the OHR, the “vast majority” of the complaints alleged that employer’s job applications still included the criminal history question, while “only a handful” of the complaints suggested an employer asked about an applicant’s criminal history during the interview process and before a conditional job offer was extended.

This large number of docketed cases over the course of only one fiscal year in Washington, D.C. alone is further confirmation that “Ban the Box” legislation is increasingly being acted upon at the federal, state and local level. Therefore, employers should continue to monitor to developments and modify their employment practices as required by such laws. By proactively ensuring that their employment practices are compliant, employers can avoid scrutiny and ultimately, liability.

For a comprehensive list of states, cities and counties that have enacted “Ban the Box” legislation, you can refer to our “Ban the Box” Compliance Issue Analysis.

Source: District of Columbia Office of Human Rights’ Highlights of Fiscal Year 2015: Annual Report

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