Nashville, TN is the most recent city to join the "Ban the Box" movement that is sweeping across the United States. Even the federal government has banned the box asking about criminal convictions from employment applications.
While most organizers involved in the movement advocate for the use of background checks as part of the employment process, they argue that disclosures of such information should happen later in the application process. "We have never been opposed to disclosure, but when that's the first thing you do on an application, there is bias and there is prejudice," said Jackie Sims with Democracy Nashville.
Nationwide, 19 states and over 100 cities and counties have adopted the same type of ordinance. The effort has been gaining momentum over the years, and encourages employers to consider an applicant's qualifications first, without the stigma of a criminal conviction.
The Equal Opportunity Employment Commission (EEOC) endorsed the movement in its 2012 guidance.
An updated guide to jurisdictions who participate in the movement can be found at the NELP website here.