Forcing job applicants to declare they have a criminal record.....allows employers to filter out ex-convicts...So activists across the world have called for “ban-the-box” laws, which prohibit employers from inquiring about criminal histories prior to job interviews or offers.What happens when information is withheld? Decision-makers are forced to use blunter instruments.
[Researchers] found that withholding criminal-record data from employers encouraged them to treat certain minority groups as if they were more likely to have criminal pasts. [They] sent 15,000 fictitious job applications to employers in New York and New Jersey. Before ban-the-box was introduced in these states, white applicants received around 7% more callbacks than similar black applicants. But when the policy took effect the gap increased to 45%.The full cost of hiring a criminal or a drug user can be much higher than just the loss of his salary. Employers, if they can't screen for this information, will disregard entire racial groups to avoid the possible damage of a mis-hire.
The social engineers set out to "help" certain groups and ended up making things worse for the innocent majority. Keeping people in the dark is rarely a good idea.