The Equal Employment Opportunity Commission recommends "that employers not ask about convictions on job applications and that, if and when they make such inquiries, the inquiries be limited to convictions for which exclusion would be job related for the position in question and consistent with business necessity." However, many Arkansas employers still include on their job application a question asking applicants to check a box if they have any criminal convictions. Many others refuse to hire people with felony convictions entirely, regardless of whether or not the conviction is job-related for the position in question.

Individuals who are directly impacted by this discrimination say that at an absolute minimum, Arkansas employers should be required to disclose on their job applications whether or not they hire individuals with felony convictions. Arkansas should also limit criminal background checks to 2-3 years for most convictions and ensure that arrests that do not result in a charge or conviction do not, in any circumstance, appear on a background check. 

Several states have implemented legislation that codifies the recommendations of the EEOC into statutory law and prohibits employers from blanket bans on hiring individuals with criminal records. New York bans unfair discrimination against people convicted of criminal offenses in public and private employment and in licensing.  Arkansas should implement a similar statute. 

Ban the Box legislation should be passed at the state level to ensure that an individual's criminal record is not a blanket disqualification from employment consideration. 


Legal Action Center Overview of State Laws that Ban Discrimination by Employers

EEOC Enforcement Guidance on the Consideration of Arrest and Conviction Records in Employment Decisions

National Employment Law Project Best Practices and Model Policies for Creating a Fair Chance Policy