On May 13, 2012, Minnesota became the latest state to restrict criminal background checks for employment purposes with its Criminal Background Check Act (S.F. No. 523). Under the new law, which will go into effect on January 1, 2014, public and private employers may not inquire about, consider or require disclosure of an applicant’s criminal history until after the applicant has been granted an interview or before a conditional offer of employment is made. Since 2009, Minnesota law prohibited only public employers from asking about criminal records on job applications.
According to a report from the National Employment Law Project (the “NELP”) dated in April 2013, six states and 50 localities have adopted “Ban the Box” legislation. And pending before Congress is the federal HR 6220 or “Ban the Box Act” introduced last July by Representative Hansen Clarke (D-MI-13) which similar to these state and local laws, would make it illegal for an employer to ask about criminal history in an interview or on an employment application.