Group Says ‘Ban the Box’ Looks Past Broader Racial Problem

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The National Employment Law Project says some advocates of “ban-the-box” policies are short-sighted to focus only on the campaign to persuade employers to remove from their hiring applications the check box asking whether applicants have a criminal record. The larger problem is entrenched racism in the hiring process, which manifests as racial profiling of African-Americans as criminals, NELP says.

The group says its research led to several other conclusions: Ban the box is working, both by increasing employment opportunities for people with records and by changing employer attitudes toward hiring people with records; two recent studies do not support the conclusion that ban-the-box policies are responsible for the depressed hiring of African Americans; and the studies highlight the need for a more robust policy response to both boost job opportunities for people with records and tackle race discrimination in the hiring process—not a repeal of ban-the-box laws.

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