What are your thoughts on Ban the Box?

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#1
Going through a few local candidates, I find the democrats vigorously pursuing "Ban the Box"

This requires employers to NOT ask about an applicant's criminal history until late in the hiring process - ie, can't be asked on the application forms and sometimes can't be asked in the initial interviews.

Several states have adopted legislation that disallows asking on application forms.

Recent studies show that employers in such states have increased their racial discrimination from 7% to 40%+ comparing the hiring activities before and after ban the box was eliminated.

Notably, Obama implemented Ban the Box for government jobs during his tenure (not sure how the racial disparity changed on that).

On the one hand, it seems good on the surface, on the other hand, it's apparently causing a problem that may be worse than the problem it's trying to solve.

What are your thoughts?

https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Ban_the_Box
 

Dave

Staff member
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#2
On the surface it seems like a good idea, but if the data shows it's not a good idea then I'm against it. The liberal side of me says that we should remove all barriers of equality, but the logical side of me says, "But...the data..."
 
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#3
Asking about criminal history is very limited in Belgium - plenty of types of jobs require a specific type of document showing (a part of) your criminal record, but there's lists of what can be asked for what type of job. For example, any type of job involving children (kindergarten teacher or what-have-you) must ask for a clean criminal record, but for those jobs you get a certificate type 596.1. For any jobs involving security (say, installing alarm systems) you'd have to get a form type 596.13. Both are drawn from your criminal record, but one will only list crimes relating to children and trust, while the other wouldn't list those things but would list things relating to breaking and entering, robbery, etc.
If you want to be a kindergarten teacher, they don't really need to know you once got caught stealing from a shop. If you're becoming a security agent, the company doesn't need to know about that time you were arrested for indecent exposure for peeing along the side of the road. Etc.

So, I'm inclined to say that criminal records and background are part of your right to privacy and not every employers needs to know everything right away - just what they might need to know. This is cmplicated in a country like the USA, though. And if it turns out that without that info people are even more racist judgmental, probably better to give it out when needed. Still, it's unfair towards former convicts. Get caught, do your time, and you're forgiven and allowed to reintegrate, supposedly. If one conviction for something possibly completely unrelated hounds you for the rest of your life, that's pretty unfair and unjust.
 
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#4
I don't see any blame for this falling on the potential employees, it seems to be more related to giving prospective employers a means to preemptively reject a candidate. And do we have any reason NOT to expect that what "employers in such states have increased their racial discrimination from 7% to 40%+," really means is that the employers are being just as racist as they were before, but now they can't ostensibly claim their reason for rejection was because of the Box?

Anyhow, if this plays out how I expect, "Ban the Box" will slowly become "Ban all the Boxes," and as each "box" disappears (race, age, address, name, etc.), we will move towards a process where prospective employers are forced to evaluate each candidate solely based on those criteria which relate to the position under consideration, and how terrible would that be?

--Patrick
 
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#5
I don't see any blame for this falling on the potential employees, it seems to be more related to giving prospective employers a means to preemptively reject a candidate. And do we have any reason NOT to expect that what "employers in such states have increased their racial discrimination from 7% to 40%+," really means is that the employers are being just as racist as they were before, but now they can't ostensibly claim their reason for rejection was because of the Box?

Anyhow, if this plays out how I expect, "Ban the Box" will slowly become "Ban all the Boxes," and as each "box" disappears (race, age, address, name, etc.), we will move towards a process where prospective employers are forced to evaluate each candidate solely based on those criteria which relate to the position under consideration, and how terrible would that be?

--Patrick
While this can work, and is practised in some cases, it's very hard to judge solely on traits-on-paper in many situations. For one thing, we've bee ntelling young people for years that outside-of-the-schoolroom skills and qualities often matter as much or more as official degrees, which is somewhat undercut by removing all personal information from a curriculum (or makes it laughably easy to figure out who is behind the CV anyway). For another, in many jobs, your looks, people skills, manner of speech, etc play an important role. It's hard to see how my accountant's look influences his work; for a salesperson, it's a part of the job. This can also lead to excesses (air hostess - do looks matter or not? etc) and defining which traits are essential for what jobs is nigh-impossible...
 
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#6
Recent studies show that employers in such states have increased their racial discrimination from 7% to 40%+ comparing the hiring activities before and after ban the box was eliminated.
On the surface it seems like a good idea, but if the data shows it's not a good idea then I'm against it. The liberal side of me says that we should remove all barriers of equality, but the logical side of me says, "But...the data..."
Jesus fuck America, what is wrong with you...

Banning asking about criminal records until the last step in hiring exposes giant amounts of racial bias = we should go back to hiding the racism...

Like, seriously?

It's like finding black mould when redisignming your kitchen, and deciding to just plaster it back up and keep the kitchen the same...
 

Dave

Staff member
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#7
Jesus fuck America, what is wrong with you...

Banning asking about criminal records until the last step in hiring exposes giant amounts of racial bias = we should go back to hiding the racism...

Like, seriously?

It's like finding black mould when redisignming your kitchen, and deciding to just plaster it back up and keep the kitchen the same...
I also think that the statistics are counter-intuitive and as stated I think that banning all forms of identification on a job application is a good idea. But if actual statistics says that this leads to MORE discrimination (how I'm still not clear on - I don't profess to know a lot on this whole subject) then I trust the science and back whatever is effective and does the most good.
 
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#8
They assume the black people are more likely to be criminals, probably.

But now that you know that you're supposed to fix that, not pretend it doesn't exist.

Pretending it doesn't is what actually got Trump elected... just because you got all the racists to be quite didn't make tehm not be racist any more, and the second they felt safe to express it, they did...
 
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#9
I also think that the statistics are counter-intuitive and as stated I think that banning all forms of identification on a job application is a good idea. But if actual statistics says that this leads to MORE discrimination (how I'm still not clear on - I don't profess to know a lot on this whole subject) then I trust the science and back whatever is effective and does the most good.
I would assume that most rejections when identified on the application happen regardless of race, while after going through the interview process white people are more likely to get a pass once a criminal history is revealed.
 
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#10
I would assume that most rejections when identified on the application happen regardless of race, while after going through the interview process white people are more likely to get a pass once a criminal history is revealed.
You make a good point, we need more info about when exactly they rejected the applicants, before or after finding out their history, to be able to tell what caused the discrimination .
 
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