As you may have recently heard, the City of Tucson has become the first municipality in Arizona to omit questions about an applicant’s criminal history on the city’s online application forms. City officials cited a desire not to deter otherwise qualified applicants solely on the basis of a criminal conviction as the primary motive in removing criminal history questions from their applications.
Though this measure, commonly known as “banning the box,” has become fairly common among local governments and other public sector employers, most private employers still screen employees, in part, upon the basis of criminal history. It is important to note that Tucson’s recent move to omit criminal history questions only applies to city applicants.
In our experience, most private employers still utilize questions about an applicant’s criminal history, and are entirely within their legal rights to do so. We frequently provide criminal background checks on applicants that reveal information material to the hiring process. We’ve uncovered past allegations of fraud, serious recent criminal convictions, and other information that might cast doubt upon the applicant’s character and abilities. This information can be an incredibly valuable asset for Arizona employers looking to hire the best possible applicants.