Ban-the-box momentum grows in North Carolina

Date: January 18, 2016 Last Edit: January 19, 2016

Asheville is the latest city to eliminate job application questions about criminal background.

Sometime this month, Asheville will join the list of North Carolina city and local governments who have “banned the box” on job applications asking candidates if they are convicted felons. Charlotte, Carrboro and Durham have already made this change.

Nationwide, 19 states and 100 other cities and counties have also banned the box from job applications, reports the Asheville Citizen-Times. In most cases, the ban refers to government employment and hiring practices, but in seven states, private employers are also banned from asking about criminal history upfront.

This growing momentum across North Carolina and the U.S. has many small business owners worried about the impact to their businesses. Under ban-the-box legislation, applicants don’t go through a criminal background check until later in the interview/hiring process. So for small businesses without dedicated human resources departments to conduct costly background checks, learning about a significant criminal background late in the game means these employers may have to start the job hunt all over again. This causes extra time, cost and frustration for small business owners.

In a recent interview with Capital Tonight on the issue, NFIB’s North Carolina State Director Gregg Thompson said that a one-size-fits-all mandate is not the answer and small business owners count on having options like the criminal history question on applications to maintain transparency in the hiring process.

Ban-the-box legislation will be a small business issue to monitor, as well as an NFIB priority, in 2016.

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