Search Results for ‘"ban the box"’

“Ban the Box” laws don’t work. So why do lawmakers love them so?

Elected officials across the aisle agree in applauding “ban the box” laws. Too bad they don’t work, I argue in my new piece at Cato. Earlier research found the laws didn’t improve employment of ex-offenders and actually harmed some groups. Now a new study finds no benefit for recidivism — and once again, harm to some groups.

With studies finding such laws ineffective even as to government hiring, “how much less justification is there for using them to constrain the freedom of private employers that have never incarcerated anyone”? Especially when directed at non-government employers, such laws “are a triumph of feel-good sentiment over economic rationality, practicality, and in the end the interests of the intended beneficiaries.” Whole piece here.

Ban the Box laws backfire badly, cont’d

“‘Ban the box’ laws, which bar employers from asking job applicants whether they have a criminal record, may be harming some of the people they are intended to help….several recent studies have found that black men, even those without a criminal history, are less likely to get called back or hired after a ban the box law is put in place.” Following a push by advocates, 29 states “prevent state and sometimes city and county employers from including a criminal history box on job applications. Nine states have extended the ban to private employers as well.” [Rebecca Beitsch, StateLine/Huffington Post] The effect was already being noticed in the policy literature a year ago. Earlier here.

“‘Ban the Box’ does more harm than good”

“‘Ban the box’ forbids public and often private employers from inquiring about an applicant’s criminal history until late in the hiring process. Such policies have been adopted in cities and states across the country.” But two new working papers now “suggest that, as economic theory predicts, ‘ban the box’ policies increase racial disparities in employment outcomes” and specifically harm young minority applicants with clean criminal records. “We should repeal ‘ban the box’ and focus on better alternatives.” [Jennifer Doleac, Brookings Institution/Real Clear Markets]

P.S. Feds overcriminalize misconduct with one hand, push HR departments into not considering criminal convictions on the other [Scott Shackford, Reason] More: NYT “Room for Debate.”

NYC: “‘Ban the Box’ bill worries businesses”

Lawyers are warning that a bill to restrict consideration of criminal records in business hiring now pending in New York City would be even more burdensome to business than similar bills enacted in other cities and states, applying, for example, to businesses with as few as four employees, a lower threshold than usual. [Crain’s] The bill prohibits inquiry about criminal record until after a provisional job offer is made, at which point a reluctant employer must withdraw the offer, painting a large “Sue Me” target on its chest.

To be able to reject an applicant because of a past conviction, employers would have to go through a rigorous process that, if not followed, would result in the presumption that a business owner engaged in unlawful discrimination, [Reed Smith’s Mark] Goldstein said….

Additionally, the City Council bill would allow an applicant rejected because of a past crime seven days to respond. The job would have to be held open during that time….

In the bill’s current form, the business would bear the burden of proof in any resulting lawsuit by the job applicant, Mr. Goldstein said.

More: Nick Fishman, Employee Screen on unusually burdensome provisions of San Francisco “ban the box” law (“Employers can’t just sit back anymore and think that these laws are benign. At the least, they are creating an administrative nightmare. At worst, the plaintiff’s attorneys are standing by waiting for your first misstep.”)

Discrimination law roundup

  • In August the Fifth Circuit handed down an opinion enjoining guidance on criminal records in employment issued by the Equal Employment Opportunity Commission, an agency to which Congress has accorded no rulemaking powers. Importantly, the opinion casts doubt on the EEOC’s powers to act by guidance in many other areas as well [Federalist Society teleforum with Mark Chenoweth and Eileen O’Connor on Texas v. EEOC]
  • Trump signs “ban the box” measure that restricts criminal-record inquiries by federal contractors, not just the government itself [Thomas Ahearn, ESRCheck; Roy Maurer/SHRM]
  • Also on Federal contract compliance: “Will New Executive Orders Close OFCCP’s Highway to Enforcement Hell?” [Chamber Institute for Legal Reform]
  • “Europe ended its age of religious wars by carving out safe space for each of the contending faiths, guaranteeing that none of them would be able to absolutely crush the others. We ought to try that again.” [Andrew Koppelman, Balkinization on why he thinks Justice William Brennan might have preferred the “Fairness for All” bill (earlier) to the Equality Act; Scott Shackford]
  • “Ohio state trooper, who is black, repeatedly sexually harasses women while on duty, gets fired. He sues, alleging racial discrimination, citing the behavior of a white trooper who was not dismissed. Sixth Circuit (over a dissent): ‘Morris Johnson and David Johnson are both troopers who acted inappropriately. And they happen to share the same last name. But the similarities end there.'” [IJ “Short Circuit” on Johnson v. Ohio Department of Public Safety]
  • Virginia employment law could lurch leftward given breadth of pending legislation [Hans Bader and more]

Discrimination law roundup

  • Don’t try to pull a “back where she came from” tirade at a private workplace [EEOC guidance (“potentially unlawful” for employer to allow); Daniel Schwartz]
  • “B.C. groin waxing case is a mockery of human rights” [Rex Murphy, National Post] Also from Canada: “Single dad facing Human Rights Complaint for asking the age and gender of a potential babysitter” [Justice Centre for Constitutional Freedoms, related case]
  • Canada continued: inquiry on missing and murdered indigenous women “strips the word genocide of meaning” [Jonathan Kay, Quillette]
  • More evidence that “ban the box” laws restricting criminal record inquiries “induce firms to engage in statistical discrimination that negatively affects the employment prospects of minorities.” [Peter Van Doren/Cato, earlier here and here]
  • Disparate-impact watch: Fifth Circuit rules, over a dissent, that landlords do not violate the federal Fair Housing Act by declining to accept Section 8 rent vouchers [opinion and denial of rehearing en banc (7-9) in Inclusive Communities Project v. Lincoln Properties; earlier here]
  • “Agencies that enforce antidiscrimination laws tend to be oblivious or hostile to constitutionally protected liberties in general and freedom of speech in particular.” [David Bernstein]

Labor and employment roundup

  • Rhode Island bill would lock in existing public employee union benefits until new contract reached. Why bargain in good faith? [Providence Journal editorial]
  • NYC Mayor De Blasio signs “Fair Work Week” package imposing on fast-food and retail employers various constraints typical of unionized workplaces; meanwhile, court strikes down 2015 NYC law imposing punitive terms on nonunion but not union car washes [Seth Barron, City Journal; Ford Harrison on new legal package]
  • How reliable a guide is Paul Krugman on the minimum wage? [Scott Sumner and commenters] “Thing is, there has been an awful lot more empirical research on the effects of minimum wage increases than this one paper by Card and Krueger.” [Thomas Firey, Cato] “New Paper Shows Workers Commute Away From Minimum Wage Rises” [Ryan Bourne, Cato]
  • House hearing: “Illinois worker recounts ordeal to decertify union” [Sean Higgins, Washington Examiner]
  • New Mexico: “‘Ban the box’ issue not so clear cut” [Joel Jacobsen, Albuquerque Journal]
  • In which Jonathan Rauch and I for once disagree, but still a good survey of ideas for reinventing unionism (works councils, Andy Stern/Eli Lehrer, Ghent, etc.) [The Atlantic]

L.A. bans criminal record inquiries in hiring, even for non-L.A. employers

“Not to be outdone by San Francisco or New York City, the City of Los Angeles has enacted the strictest ‘ban the box’ ordinance in the country, and its many requirements are detailed and onerous….Notably, the employer need not be located within the city” to be covered, provided it has “10 or more employees who perform an average of at least two hours of work each week in the City of Los Angeles.” Employers cannot ask about criminal convictions before offering jobs, and can do so afterward only by using a multi-step process — providing a rationale in writing, holding a job open for at least five days while the applicant responds, then writing another document of justification — designed to facilitate successful litigation over the withdrawal of an offer. [Karen Dinino, Christine Samsel, and Sherli Shamtoub/Brownstein Hyatt Farber Schreck]

Workplace law roundup

  • Obama pay reporting rules: “Forget for a moment that the whole purpose [is] to provide litigation attorneys a database they can mine to legally harass businesses. The reporting requirements here are incredibly onerous.” [Coyote, earlier here and here]
  • This seems so French: “Man Sues Former Employers for Boring Him” [Atlas Obscura, Paris; but compare 1994 Canadian story of attorney Paul Ebbs]
  • Second Circuit: managers, supervisors can be individually liable for Family and Medical Leave Act violations [Daniel Schwartz, Jon Hyman] Can one of those managers dismiss an employee who’s exhausted the allotted FMLA leave and not come back? Given the presence of the ADA in the background, you might have to guess [Schwartz]
  • Invincible myths of the pay gap [Robin Shea, Hans Bader/CEI, Claudia Goldin 2014 via Marc Andreesen, earlier]
  • Yes, a legislature does advance important state interests when it pre-empts local employment regulations [Hans Bader, CEI, on one element of North Carolina HB 2 law, on which earlier]
  • Here come “ban the box” bills restricting private, not just public, employer inquiries into criminal records of job applicants [Daniel Schwartz, Connecticut; Aabid Allibhai, On Labor]

Labor and employment roundup

  • Now watch out for the next phase of the “ban the box” effort, which will demand that private employers not be allowed to ask about applicants’ criminal records [Open Society via @georgesoros]
  • “We have one restaurant in Seattle, and we probably won’t be expanding there. That’s true of San Francisco and Los Angeles, too.” [Buffalo Wild Wings CEO Sally Smith via David Boaz]
  • New York Times reporting vs. nail salons: the video [Reason, earlier] The other Greenhouse effect, in this case Steven: Times “sees the labor beat as having essentially an advocacy mission.” [Adam Ozimek]
  • The lawsuits of September: “the EEOC has once again rushed to file a blitz of federal court complaints just under the fiscal year wire” [Matthew Gagnon, Christopher DeGroff, and Gerald Maatman, Jr., Seyfarth Shaw]
  • I was a guest on Ray Dunaway’s morning drive time show on WTIC (Hartford) talking about cop fitness tests and the blind barber suit, you can listen here:
  • NYC Commission on Human Rights — with an assist from Demos and New Economy Project — runs public ads saying “There’s no evidence that shows a link between credit reports and job performance. That’s why NYC made it illegal to use credit reports in employment decisions.” The “Suburbanist” responds: “We will punish those who depart from our null hypotheses regarding their business. Human rights indeed.”
  • What are the biggest legal questions facing employers? “What is work?” and “Who is an employee?” are a start [Jon Hyman]