More states, cities, and counties enact ‘ban-the-box’ laws

There are now 13 states and 66 cities restricting employers from inquiring about an applicant’s previous criminal background on job applications.

Most recently, the District of Columbia, Illinois, and New Jersey have passed “ban-the-box” laws.  Ban the box references the check box found on employment applications that asks an applicant if he or she has ever been convicted of a crime.

A common misconception is that if an employer removes the check box, they are abiding by the law.  The law more specifically restricts employers from asking applicants about their background until an interview or conditional job offer has been made to the applicant.

No two laws are exactly the same. Each state, county and city that has enacted the law has different restrictions and criteria. For some states, the law is for only for public sector employers.  It is important to check the law in each city or state that impacts your company.

The 13 states with statewide ban-the-box laws as of September 2014 include: California, Colorado, Connecticut, Delaware, Hawaii, Illinois, Maryland, Massachusetts, Minnesota, Nebraska, New Jersey, New Mexico, Rhode Island and also Washington D.C.  States that have not enacted such a law may have restrictions on how and when background checks can be conducted or may have cities or counties with laws affecting businesses in their jurisdictions.

If you have additional questions about ban-the-box policies in various state, city and/or county or other HR matters, please contact your BCN Services Partnership Manager. Email us at call 734-994-4100 or contact us here.


Kateyln Walzbecker, Partnership Manager

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