Hawaii Passes SB 2193 to Amend Ban the Box Law

Posted: October 02, 2020

Hawaii Passes SB 2193 to Amend Ban the Box Law

Hawaii has amended its original “Ban the Box” law to further protect ex-offenders and increase their opportunities for gainful and legitimate employment. The first state in the US to adopt such legislation, the Aloha State passed Hawaii Revised Statute § 378-2.5 in July of 1998, which prohibits private and public employers from inquiring into or considering conviction records for prospective employees until after a conditional offer of employment is made, and then only if that criminal conviction record “bears a rational relationship to the duties and responsibilities of the position.” Originally, the statute required employers to limit their inquiry and consideration to the past ten years, excluding any periods of incarceration.

Senate Bill 2193 was signed into law on September 15, 2020 by Hawaii Governor David Y. Ige, and amends the original Ban the Box law to even further limit the period of time employers can inquire into and consider conviction records from 10 years to seven years for felony convictions and five years for misdemeanor convictions.

The bill itself states, “Meaningful opportunities for gainful and legitimate employment are necessary for people with criminal records to achieve economic stability for themselves and their families,”and explains that having legitimate employment correlates with lower recidivism rates for those with past convictions, and that helping people obtain more meaningful employment was key to reducing crime and improving public safety. That being said, the bill claims that the previous ten year “lookback” period is too long and may prompt unwarranted employment discrimination, and by shortening this period, it might reduce unnecessary employment discrimination against those with past conviction history who may be successfully rehabilitated and paid their debt to society.

Currently, 16 US states and territories and 21 cities and counties have Ban the Box (or similar) legislation that impacts private employers. These laws were created to help prevent employment discrimination against those with criminal records and allow them the opportunity to advance in the hiring process based on their qualifications, character, and fitness for the position, rather than being automatically disqualified for their conviction history.

Contact Info Cubic today at 888-925-0922 for a list of current State and City/County ban the box laws and ordinances impacting private employers to ensure that your background check process is up to date and compliant.

Eden Hutchinson
Quality Assurance & Compliance Manager
Info Cubic