To The Point Blog

“Ban-The-Box” Legislation Will Impact How Schools Review Applicants

Feb 01, 2016

House Bill 56 goes into effect on March 23, 2016.  The bill will prohibit public schools from including a request for criminal background information on employment applications.  The bill, often referred to as “ban the box,” applies to school districts, ESCs, community schools, STEM schools, and other public entities.  

It is important to understand the bill’s narrow scope.  Under the Bill, schools:

  • may not include questions about criminal convictions on an employment application.
  • may include a notice on an employment application that certain criminal convictions will disqualify the applicant.

The bill does not prohibit a school from inquiring into an applicant’s criminal background.  This means that a school may still ask questions about an applicant’s criminal history later in the application process.  Importantly, the new legislation does not affect background checks required by law.

In short, House Bill 56 only prohibits inquiries on the job application itself.  Schools can subsequently ask questions regarding criminal convictions and are still required to complete mandatory background checks. 

Schools also need to be aware of existing EEOC Enforcement Guidelines.  The guidelines prohibit employers, including schools, from having a blanket policy that refuses to hire applicants because of a non-disqualifying felony conviction. 

Given all these changes, your school should review and revise procedures for how and when “conviction” inquiries are made and used.  To ensure your school’s procedures will comply with HB 56 and EEOC guidelines, please consult with your attorney or legal counsel.

Our Education Law Practice group is available to review and modify your policy and procedures to ensure compliance.  Please contact Attorneys Albin Bauer or Maria Limbert Markakis at info@dayketterer.com or 330.455.0173 for more information. 

The content of this blog is for informational purposes only and is not intended as legal advice for any purpose. This blog is not intended to present an exhaustive summary of all applicable laws, or to take the place of legal advice.  If you have any questions regarding the law, please contact us for assistance.