Giving people second chances has given me first-rate employees. – Café owner


I’ve adopted fair hiring policies that protect my business while avoiding missing out on good workers:

I made background checks make sense for me with a tailored procedure that fits my business.

I banned the box. Last year, I removed the criminal records inquiry from my company’s initial employment application; now I wait till I meet the applicant during the interview to ask about a criminal history. This allows me to base my decision on the whole person – rather than just a single report.

I meet the applicants. We talk about their records to assess the relevance of the offense to the job at hand. I consider how old they were when the offense occurred and what they’ve done to rehabilitate themselves since.

I train my hiring staff to understand the information they’re accessing and to comply with relevant laws, like the Fair Credit Reporting Act and Title VII of the Civil Rights Act.


For further reading, see the National Employment Law Project’s 65 Million Need Not Apply; Devah Pager’s The Mark of a Criminal Record; and Michelle Alexander’s The New Jim Crow.

Watch: The House I Live In, The Pull of Gravity, and Broken on All Sides