Montgomery County, Virginia • Montgomery County has joined a growing number of localities and businesses that no longer require job seekers to acknowledge criminal histories on employment applications.
The Board of Supervisors agreed to enact the fair hiring policy known as “ban the box” after members of the county’s “Dialogue on Race” group spoke to them about the difficulties of finding employment after a criminal conviction.
“Nearly one in four adults in the U.S. has a conviction history,” James M. Dubinsky told the Board of Supervisors. “A criminal record reduces the likelihood of callback or employment by 50 percent.”
The employment application checkbox asked individuals whether they have ever been convicted of a crime but did not ask for detailed criminal histories. Dropping the “box” requirement allows applicants who have a criminal record to be considered fairly along with other applicants for open positions. It also eliminates the possibility of not being considered early in the employment process due to the “box” being checked.
It also allows job applicants, who are qualified and otherwise eligible for employment, an opportunity to explain their criminal history and discuss whether it is relevant to the County’s particular position requirements once a provisional offer has been extended. All County applicants are required to consent to a criminal background check.
The Sheriff’s Office does not have plans to remove the “box” on its employment application.