Are Ban the Box Laws Working as Intended?

‘Ban the Box’ laws are meant to help remove some of the disadvantages applicants with criminal records face when applying for jobs. Ban the Box or ‘Fair Chance’ laws are rapidly growing in popularity and can found in almost every part of the country at the state, county or municipal level.

But are Ban the Box laws doing more harm than good? A recent study by the University of Michigan and Princeton University found that while Ban the Box laws are effective at providing more opportunity for applicants with criminal records, these laws might actually be creating more racial disparity when it comes to actual callbacks for applicants.

This study claims that before Ban the Box laws were in place, white applicants received a slightly higher callback rate than black applicants. However, after ban the box laws were introduced, the racial disparity for callbacks increased significantly. The study indicates that employers may be basing their decisions on assumptions regarding criminal records and an applicant’s race, using an applicant’s name alone when criminal record information is not available.

You can read more about the study here in the Chicago Tribune.