Categorized | Insurance

Should You Ban the Box?

If your company uses any vehicles owned by employees, company principals or anyone else who is not the named insured on your commercial auto policy, be sure to read my new article on insuring non-owned autos.

Suppose you need to hire a new employee. Conventional wisdom says that you need to carefully vet all job applicants to ensure they don’t have a criminal record.  A thorough screening process that includes background checks is good risk management. It will also make your liability insurer happy. Well, some states and municipalities are turning conventional wisdom on its head with their “ban-the-box” laws. One of those is Richmond, California.

Woman in Handcuffs

Richmond, which is located about 18 miles northeast of San Francisco, recently passed one of the most restrictive “ban-the-box” laws in the country. “The box” refers to the check box in job applications whereby applicants must indicate if they have ever been convicted of a crime. Ban-the-box laws prohibit employers from including this box in the initial application.  Most of the laws permit employers to question applicants about their criminal histories during a face-to-face interview. Ban-the-box laws apply only with regard to individuals hired by the government itself or by government vendors or contractors.

Richmond has taken the ban-the-box law a step further. Its law not only requires the removal of  “the box” from job applications but also prohibits most criminal background checks. Background checks are permitted when they are required by state or federal law. They are also allowed for certain “sensitive” jobs, like those involving children.

Ban-the-box laws are based on the idea that convicts deserve a second chance. Proponents contend that employers automatically reject applicants who check “the box” regardless of their qualifications. Moreover, employers also fail to consider the nature of the crime or how much time has passed since it was committed. Do you agree? Do you routinely reject job applicants that have a criminal record?

Maybe you’d like to give someone a second chance. Yet, you have to consider the consequences of a hiring mistake. Suppose you hire an employee who has an old criminal conviction for assault. The employee seems to be working out well. Then one day he assaults one of your customers. The customer sues you, claiming that you were negligent when you knowingly hired someone with a prior criminal conviction. A lawsuit is disruptive, costly, and can damage your company’s reputation. A claim for negligent hiring won’t be covered under your general liability policy because negligent hiring is not considered an “occurrence”. To have coverage for the claim, you would need an employment practices liability policy.

Image courtesy of [satva] / FreeDigitalPhotos.com

Source: About.com
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Woman in Handcuffs

Richmond, which is located about 18 miles northeast of San Francisco, recently passed one of the most restrictive "ban-the-box" laws in the country. "The box" refers to the check box in job applications whereby applicants must indicate if they have ever been convicted of a crime. Ban-the-box laws prohibit employers from including this box in the initial application.  Most of the laws permit employers to question applicants about their criminal histories during a face-to-face interview. Ban-the-box laws apply only with regard to individuals hired by the government itself or by government vendors or contractors.

Richmond has taken the ban-the-box law a step further. Its law not only requires the removal of  "the box" from job applications but also prohibits most criminal background checks. Background checks are permitted when they are required by state or federal law. They are also allowed for certain "sensitive" jobs, like those involving children.

Ban-the-box laws are based on the idea that convicts deserve a second chance. Proponents contend that employers automatically reject applicants who check "the box" regardless of their qualifications. Moreover, employers also fail to consider the nature of the crime or how much time has passed since it was committed. Do you agree? Do you routinely reject job applicants that have a criminal record?

Maybe you'd like to give someone a second chance. Yet, you have to consider the consequences of a hiring mistake. Suppose you hire an employee who has an old criminal conviction for assault. The employee seems to be working out well. Then one day he assaults one of your customers. The customer sues you, claiming that you were negligent when you knowingly hired someone with a prior criminal conviction. A lawsuit is disruptive, costly, and can damage your company's reputation. A claim for negligent hiring won't be covered under your general liability policy because negligent hiring is not considered an "occurrence". To have coverage for the claim, you would need an employment practices liability policy.

Image courtesy of [satva] / FreeDigitalPhotos.com

Source: About.com
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