News & Resources

‘Ban the Box’ in Pennsylvania

September 14, 2017


What is ‘Ban the Box’ and why is it important?

By now, you have probably heard of the term ‘Ban the Box’, but if you have not, ‘Ban the Box’ refers to the initiative to remove questions relating to criminal history from a job application.  The goal in removing these questions is to prevent bias in hiring individuals who have been convicted of crimes that do not relate to the position.

In Pennsylvania on May 5, 2017, Governor Wolf announced a fair-chance hiring policy for state agencies and removed the criminal conviction question from non-civil service employment applications for agencies under the governor’s jurisdiction.  The full policy can be viewed here:

‘Ban the box’  can be confusing when it comes to making sure one’s business properly follows the rules relating to using criminal background checks during the hiring process.

What are the guidelines for background checks?

The U.S. Equal Employment Opportunity Commission (EEOC) oversees how employers implement background checks in the workplace.  The Federal Trade Commission also oversees background checks and there may be state specific guidance as well. To view the EEOC guidance in detail, see the following web-site:

  • It is not illegal for an employer to ask questions about an applicant’s or employee’s background or to require a background check.
  • The use of background information may not be used to discriminate based on protected class such as race, color, national origin, sex or religion; genetic information and age.
  • Businesses must comply with the Fair Credit Reporting Act

If you need assistance with implementing staffing policy and procedure, call us at Loyalhanna, we would be happy to help! 724-672-4300 or