Ban the Box Laws by State and Municipality

Ban the Box Laws by State and Municipality

 

Author: XpertHR Editorial Team

There is a trend at the state and local levels to protect prospective employees convicted of a crime from automatic disqualification during the selection process. So-called "ban the box" laws prevent an employer from requesting a prospective employee's criminal history information on an employment application.

This chart provides an overview of the ban the box laws in effect at the state and municipal levels affecting the private sector. States that have no requirements regarding a ban the box law are marked N/A in the chart. Additional details are available in many cases by clicking on the relevant state or locality.

Some jurisdictions prohibit an employer from asking whether an applicant has been convicted of a crime until a specified point in the hiring cycle (e.g., the interview stage or after a conditional job offer has been made). Several states also have laws imposing restrictions on an employer's ability to use credit history in making employment decisions. Review variations in credit check requirements by state in Credit Check Limitations by State and Municipality.

In light of these ban the box laws, an employer may wish to ensure their employment application conforms with this trend. See Employment Application Form for a template that can be used that complies with these requirements.

State Key Municipalities Covered Employers Notes
Alabama N/A
Alaska N/A
Arizona N/A
Arkansas N/A
California Any employer with five or more employees Criminal background inquiries prohibited until after conditional job offer
Compton Contractors doing business with city Background check allowed only after conditional job offer
Los Angeles Any employer in the city with 10 or more employees Criminal history questions only after conditional job offer
Richmond Private employers with 10 or more employees that contract with city Applies regardless of where the employer is based
San Francisco Applies to employers with 5 or more employees (replaces prior threshold of 20 or more) Bans criminal inquiries, or requiring disclosure of conviction history, until conditional job offer has been made
Colorado Effective September 1, 2019 for employers with 11 or more employees; effective on or after September 1, 2021 for all employers
Connecticut All employers Bans criminal history questions on initial job applications with very limited exceptions
Hartford Contractors doing business with the city Background checks only after conditional employment offer
New Haven Contractors doing business with the city Background checks only after conditional job offer
Delaware N/A
District of Columbia All employers with more than 10 employees Background check only after conditional employment offer
Florida N/A
Georgia N/A
Hawaii Private employers No criminal history inquiries prior to conditional employment offer
Idaho N/A
Illinois Private employers with 15 or more employees No criminal history inquiries prior to job interview, or until after conditional job offer if no interview occurs
Chicago Private employers with less than 15 employees Bans criminal history questions prior to job interview, or until after conditional job offer if no interview occurs
Cook County Private employers with less than 15 employees Mirrors Chicago's criminal history ordinance
Indiana N/A
Indianapolis Contractors doing business with the city No criminal history questions until after first interview
Iowa N/A
Kansas N/A
Kentucky N/A
Louisville Contractors doing business with the city City prefers vendors that ban the box on job applications and may terminate contracts with those that do not
Louisiana N/A
New Orleans Contractors doing business with the city City contractors may not ask criminal history questions on initial job applications
Maine N/A
Maryland N/A
Baltimore All employers with 10 or more employees No criminal records checks or inquiries until a conditional job offer has been made
Montgomery County Any employer employing 15 or more persons in the county No criminal history questions or background checks until after first interview
Prince George's County Any employer with 25 or more full-time employees in the county No criminal history questions or background checks until after first interview
Massachusetts Private employers Prohibits criminal history questions on initial application form, but also bans inquiries about certain types of crimes later in the hiring process
Boston Contractors/vendors doing business with the city
Cambridge Contractors/vendors doing business with the city
Worcester Contractors/vendors doing business with the city
Michigan N/A
Detroit Contractors doing business with the city when contract is for $25,000 or more No criminal conviction questions until contractor interviews applicant or determines applicant is qualified
Kalamazoo Contractors providing services to the city for more than $25,000 or those seeking tax abatement Must show commitment that they don't use criminal history to discriminate in employment
Minnesota Private employers Bans criminal history inquiries on initial job applications subject to limited exceptions
Mississippi N/A
Missouri N/A
Columbia All employers within city limits Bans criminal history questions until after conditional job offer
Kansas City Private employers with six or more employees No criminal history inquiries until after job interview
Montana N/A
Nebraska N/A
Nevada N/A
New Hampshire N/A
New Jersey Any employer with 15 or more employees over 20 calendar weeks Includes provision preempting local laws, most notably this supersedes a Newark law which applied to employers with five or more employees
New Mexico Private employers May consider an applicant's conviction after reviewing the application and discussing employment with the applicant
New York N/A
Buffalo Private employers with 15 or more employees/Contractors doing business with the city Bans criminal history questions on initial job applications
New York City All employers with four or more employees No criminal inquiries prior to conditional job offer
Rochester All employers with four or more employees and contractors doing business with city No criminal history inquiries until after initial job interview or conditional job offer
Syracuse City contractors No criminal history inquiries, background checks until after conditional job offer
North Carolina N/A
North Dakota N/A
Ohio N/A
Oklahoma N/A
Oregon Private Employers Unlawful to exclude applicant from job interview solely because of a past criminal conviction
Portland Employers with six or more employees No asking about or accessing criminal records before conditional job offer
Pennsylvania N/A
Philadelphia All employers with at least one employee in the city No criminal background checks prior to conditional job offer
Pittsburgh Contractors/vendors doing business with the city Bans criminal history inquiries until applicant is deemed otherwise qualified for a position
Rhode Island Employers with four or more employees Prohibits criminal history inquiries on initial job applications
South Carolina N/A
South Dakota N/A
Tennessee N/A Preempts cities and counties from extending state ban the box law to private employers
Texas N/A
Austin Employers with 15 or more employees No criminal history questions or criminal background checks until conditional job offer has been made
Utah N/A
Vermont Private employers Bans criminal history questions on an initial job application
Virginia N/A
Washington Private employers No arrest or conviction questions (or criminal background checks) before job applicant is deemed otherwise qualified for a position
Seattle Any employer with one or more employees Need "legitimate business reason" to automatically exclude applicants with arrest or conviction record
Spokane Private employers No criminal history questions before a job interview
West Virginia N/A
Wisconsin N/A
Madison Contractors doing business with city on contracts worth more than $25,000 No criminal history questions, background checks until after conditional offer
Wyoming N/A

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