Advocacy Groups Urge United Kingdom Companies to Ban the Box
By Kelly D. Kubacki, Esq., Compliance Officer
Employers in the United States are becoming well versed in the art of “ban the box” efforts which seek to remove the criminal history inquiry from various stages of the hiring process with the goal of easing the reintegration of ex-offenders back into gainful employment. The past year has seen heightened activity in this arena with four jurisdictions passing ban the box legislation (Minnesota, Rhode Island, Buffalo (NY) and Seattle (WA)) and several additional jurisdictions actively discussing potential laws (such as New Jersey).Largely ban the box efforts have been limited to the United States as other countries have either historically viewed the use of criminal records in employment decisions as potentially discriminatory or have chosen to avoid the issue entirely. Several advocacy groups in the United Kingdom – Transition to Adulthood Alliance, Working Links and Business in the Community – are seeking to change the trend and are pushing for employers to remove the criminal history question from employment applications. Indeed, they expanded on the issue at a recent Liberal Democrat party conference, and will also explore ban the box at upcoming conferences with the Labour party and Conservatives party. The events are also in partnership with the Guardian. While there is no specific legislation addressing ban the box currently effective in the UK, it will be an interesting trend to track to determine if additional countries will undertake legislative efforts similar to what companies have experienced in the United States. As always, Verifications will continue to provide updates as they become available.
 Business in the Community has published several items related to a “Ready for Work” campaign, including a guide for ex-offenders on how to discuss past criminal records with potential employers. The guide provides information related to understanding convictions, identifies example scenarios when individuals are required to undergo criminal records checks, details the Rehabilitation of Offenders Act and outlines tips for approaching various stages of the hiring process such as the application and interview.