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Ban the Box States 2022

Ban-the-Box laws prohibit questions about past criminal convictions on job applications. The “box” in “ban-the-box” initially referred to the checkbox on a job application where candidates would have to answer whether or not they have a criminal history, but these regulations have expanded to indicate when an employer is permitted to ask about criminal history.

The purpose of a ban-the-box law is to help those adults with a criminal past receive a fair chance of finding work. Employers are encouraged to assess a candidate’s qualifications and skills fairly against other candidates before denying employment. Some employers are exempt from ban the box laws, such as security jobs, and those working with children and the elderly.

Before these laws, a typical job application had a set of questions that included the question, “Have you ever been convicted of a crime? Check yes or no.” For the 30% of adults who do have a criminal history, checking this box usually meant that their application was automatically rejected by the employer without evaluation of their crime or any of their qualifying skills or work history.

A total of 35 states and the District of Columbia have adopted a ban the box law of some kind. Thirteen of these states have extended their law to private employers. 150 cities and 18 counties have also adopted some type of ban-the-box law, some of which are in states that have not adopted such laws. This sets 258 million people in the US in a jurisdiction with a ban-the-box or fair-chance law.

There is currently no federal ban-the-box law. Some states have ban-the-box laws with additional requirements. Some laws only apply to employers of a specific size, and some require employers to wait until a later point in the hiring process to ask about criminal histories, such as after a conditional offer is made. Below is a list of all 35 Ban-the-Box states and their regulations. Some municipalities that have separate ban-the-box laws have been included. Many counties and cities have separate ban-the-box laws, in states with and without them, which have not been included in this list. You should always check your local municipality’s ban-the-box laws.

The ban-the-box law for the state of Arizona applies to businesses with more than 15 employees. Criminal history inquiries are prohibited until an interview or a conditional job offer if there is no interview. Employers are only able to ask about criminal history in the last seven years.

In California, the ban-the-box law applies to any employer (public and private) with five or more employees. A criminal background inquiry is prohibited until after a conditional job offer. In Compton, the ban-the-box law applies to contractors doing business with the city. A background check is allowed after a conditional job offer. In Los Angeles, California, the ban-the-box law applies to any employer with 10 or more employees. Criminal history questions are prohibited until after a conditional job offer. In Richmond, California, the ban-the-box law applies to private employers with 10 or more employees that contract with the city.

Effective September 1, 2019, Colorado's ban-the-box law applies to private employers with 11 or more employees. The law will apply to all employers starting on or after September 1, 2021.

In Connecticut, it applies to all employers, and any criminal history questions on initial job applications are banned with very limited exceptions. In Hartford and New Haven, Connecticut, the ban-the-box law applies to contractors doing business with the city, and background checks are only permitted after a conditional job offer.

The ban-the-box law for the state of Delaware applies to public employers. Criminal history inquiries are prohibited until a conditional offer of employment.

In the District of Columbia, it applies to all employers (public and private) with more than 10 employees. Background checks are only permitted after a conditional job offer.

Georgia's law applies to public sector employers. Criminal history inquiries are prohibited on job applications and employers can inquire during interviews. In Atlanta, Georgia, the ban-the-box law applies to public sector employers as it does in the state. Employers may only inquire into criminal history after the candidate completes a second interview or is deemed qualified.

In Hawaii, the ban-the-box law applies to all private employers. Criminal history inquiries are not permitted until after a conditional job offer.

In Illinois, the law applies to private employers with 15 or more employees. Criminal history inquiries are prohibited until prior to a job interview or until after a conditional job offer if no interview occurs. In Chicago and Cook County, Illinois, the law applies to private employers with less than 15 employees, and criminal inquiry conditions are the same as the state.

Indiana's ban-the-box law applies to public sector positions in the state’s Executive Branch. Initial applications will not inquire about criminal history or convictions unless of a particular crime that precludes that person from employment in that specific position. A background check may be conducted later in the hiring process. In Indianapolis, the law applies to contractors doing business with the city. Criminal history questions are not permitted until after the first interview.

Kansas's law applies to executive branch departments, agencies, boards and commissions under the Office of the Governor. Criminal history inquiries are prohibited on the initial employment application, and a criminal history may not automatically disqualify a candidate.

Kentucky's law applies to public sector positions in the state’s Executive Branch. Employers are prohibited to inquire about criminal history until after contacting the applicant to offer an interview. In Louisville, Kentucky, a ban-the-box law applies to contractors doing business with the city. The city of Louisville prefers vendors that “ban the box” on job applications and may terminate contracts with those who do not.

Louisiana's ban-the-box law applies to public sector employers for the State of Louisiana. Employers may only make criminal history inquiries after the first interview or a conditional job offer if there is no interview. In New Orleans, Louisiana, the ban-the-box law applies to contractors doing business with the city. City contractors are prohibited to ask criminal history questions on initial job applications.

The ban-the-box law in Maine applies to only state government employers. Criminal history inquiries are prohibited on application forms. In Maryland, it applies to public employers for the State of Maryland. Criminal history inquiries are not allowed until after the employer has provided the applicant an opportunity for an interview. In Baltimore, Maryland, the ban-the-box law applies to all employers with 10 or more employees. Criminal record checks and inquiries are prohibited until a conditional job offer has been made In Montgomery County, Maryland, the law applies to any employer with 15 or more employees in the county. Criminal history questions and background checks are prohibited until after the first interview. In Prince George’s County, Maryland, a ban-the-box law applies to any employer with 25 or more full-time employees in that county.

In Massachusetts, the law applies to private employers. Criminal history inquiries are banned on initial applications, and inquiries about certain types of crimes are prohibited as well later in the hiring process. In Massachusett's Boston, Cambridge, and Worcester, the law applies to contractors and vendors doing business with the city.

The law in Michigan applies to public employers for the State of Michigan. The initial job application can only ask for affirmation of good character. Criminal history inquiries may only be made after an initial interview or a conditional job offer. In Detroit, Michigan, a ban-the-box law applies to contractors doing business with the city when the contract is $25,000 or more. Criminal conviction questions are prohibited until the applicant is interviewed or the contractor determines the applicant is qualified. In Kalamazoo, Michigan, the law applies to contractors providing a service to the city for more than $25,000 or those seeking tax abatement. The contractors must show a commitment that they do not use criminal history as a means of discrimination in employment

Minnesota's ban-the-box law applies to private employers. Criminal history inquiries are prohibited on initial job applications, and exceptions are limited.

The law in Missouri applies to public sector employers in the executive branch for the State of Missouri. Criminal history inquiries are not allowed on the job application form. In Columbia, Missouri, a ban-the-box law applies to all employers within the city limits. Criminal history questions are prohibited until after a conditional job offer. In Kansas City, Missouri, a ban-the-box law applies to employers with six or more employees. Criminal history inquiries are prohibited until after a job interview.

The ban-the-box law in Nebraska applies to public sector employers of the State of Nebraska and its cities and counties. Employers may not inquire about criminal history until after the applicant is determined to have met minimum employment qualifications.

In Nevada, it applies to all public employers. Criminal history inquiries are not permitted until after either a final in-person interview, a conditional offer of employment, or (if applicable) the applicant is certified by the administrator, whichever occurs first.

New Jersey's ban-the-box law applies to any employer with 15 or more employees over 20 calendar weeks. Criminal history inquiries are prohibited until after the completion of the initial employment process. In New Mexico, it applies to private employers. Employers may inquire and consider an applicant’s criminal history after reviewing the application and discussing employment with the applicant.

New York's ban-the-box law applies to public sector employers, agencies, and licensing authorities for the State of New York. Criminal history inquiries can only be made after the first interview. In Buffalo, the law applies to private employers with 15 or more employees and contractors doing business with the city. Criminal history questions are prohibited on the initial job application. In New York City, it applies to all employers with four or more employees. Criminal history inquiries are prohibited until after a conditional job offer. Rochester's law to all employers with four or more employees and contractors doing business with the city. Criminal history inquiries are prohibited until after an initial job interview or after a conditional job offer. Syracuse's law applies to city contractors. Criminal history inquiries and background checks are prohibited until after a conditional job offer.

The ban-the-box law in North Dakota applies to public sector employers, excluding school districts. Criminal history inquiries can only be made after a candidate is selected for an interview. In Ohio, the laws apply to public sector employers for the State of Ohio, including cities and counties. Criminal history inquiries can only be made after a conditional job offer.

Oklahoma's applies to state agency employers for the State of Oklahoma. Inquiring into criminal history on the job application is prohibited unless a felony conviction would render an applicant unqualified. In Oregon, it applies to private employers. It is unlawful to exclude an applicant from the job interview process solely because of a past criminal conviction. In Portland, Oregon, the ban-the-box law applies to employers with six or more employees. Criminal history questions or assessment is prohibited until after a conditional job offer.

The ban-the-box law in Pennsylvania applies to public sector employers for the State of Pennsylvania that are hiring for non-civil service positions. Criminal history inquiries are not permitted on the job application. In Philadelphia, it applies to all employers with at least one employee in the city. Criminal background checks are prohibited until a conditional job offer. In Pittsburgh, the law applies to contractors and vendors doing business with the city. The law bans criminal history inquiries until the applicant is deemed otherwise qualified for a position

In Rhode Island, the law applies to employers with four or more employees. Criminal history inquiries are prohibited on initial job applications.

In Tennessee, it applies to public sector employers for the State of Tennessee. Criminal history inquiries are not permitted on job applications.

Utah's law applies to public sector employers for the State of Utah, including municipalities and counties. Criminal history inquiries can only be made during the interview or later, or after a conditional job offer if there is no interview.

Vermont's law applies to private employees. Criminal history questions are prohibited on initial job applications.

In Virginia, it applies to the public sector employers – all agencies, boards, and commissions – within the executive branch of the government. Criminal history inquiries can be made only after an applicant is deemed otherwise eligible and is being considered for a position.

Washington's ban-the-box applies to private employers. No arrest or conviction questions (or background checks) are allowed before a job applicant is deemed otherwise qualified. In Seattle, Washington, the ban-the-box law applies to any employer with one or more employees. Employers need a “legitimate business reason” to automatically exclude applicants with an arrest or conviction history. In Spokane, Washington, the ban-the-box law applies to private employers (as it does for the state). Criminal history questions are prohibited before a job interview.

Wisconsin's applies to public sector employees for the State of Wisconsin. Criminal history inquiries can only be made after the applicant is certified for the position. In Madison, wisconsin, the ban-the-box law applies to contractors doing business with the city where the contract is more than $25,000. Criminal history inquiries and background checks are prohibited until after a conditional job offer.

Ban the Box States 2022

State 2022 Pop.
California39,995,077
Colorado5,922,618
Connecticut3,612,314
Hawaii1,474,265
Illinois12,808,884
Indiana6,845,874
Kentucky4,539,130
Louisiana4,682,633
Maryland6,257,958
Massachusetts7,126,375
Michigan10,116,069
Minnesota5,787,008
Missouri6,188,111
New Jersey9,388,414
New Mexico2,129,190
New York20,365,879
Oregon4,318,492
Pennsylvania13,062,764
Rhode Island1,106,341
Texas29,945,493
Vermont646,545
Washington7,901,429
Wisconsin5,935,064

Ban the Box States 2022

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