What is meant by “ban the box?”

Ban the Box is an expression used to limit employment application questions that seek information about criminal histories, unless such an inquiry is required by law (e.g. childcare workers).  The Ban the Box concept originated because criminal convictions may unfairly screen out otherwise qualified minorities from employment consideration.  Employers should be aware that this is a growing trend among some states and localities (e.g. Philadelphia has a ban the box law).  If asking about criminal histories in states/localities that do not have a Ban the Box law, employers should always ensure that the criminal history inquiry is directly related to, and necessitated by, the job that will be performed.