California passes statewide ban-the-box prohibition

California continues to expand its employment laws. As reported in a previous post, California just passed a statewide prohibition against inquiries into pay history. Now, California has joined the growing trend (reported in this previous post) of jurisdictions that prohibit inquiries into an applicant’s criminal history, with its own statewide ban-the-box law (California AB 1008). AB 1008 not only prohibits such inquiries but also prohibits the inclusion of any inquiry into criminal convictions on an employment application form. It also limits the use of criminal history information obtained as part of a background check.

With the addition of California, this brings the number of states having ban-the-box prohibitions to ten, and as previously reported, there are even more cities and local jurisdictions that have passed such prohibitions. Employers should continue to check with legal counsel whether the jurisdictions in which they operate have adopted ban-the-box prohibitions.

Source: Bill Text – AB-1008 Employment discrimination: conviction history.

Ban the Box laws spread across the country

Looking for a survey of ban-the-box laws (laws that prohibit private employers from asking applicants about criminal histories)? These laws are being debated at every level of the government. With some form of “ban the box” aka “fair chance” legislation in 9 states (Connecticut, Hawaii, Illinois, Massachusetts, Minnesota, New Jersey, Oregon, Rhode Island, and Vermont) and 29 local authorities, it can be a challenge to determine if your company is in a jurisdiction covered by such a law. At the federal level, the Fair Chance to Compete Act was introduced (though not passed) in 2017, as S. 842 and H.R. 1905.

Here’s a handy chart published by SHRM (Society for Human Resource Management). See also this report by the National Employment Law Project, which estimates that “over 226 million people in the United States—over two-thirds of the U.S. population—live in a jurisdiction with some form of ban-the-box or fair-chance policy.”

Note these laws are quickly evolving. Indeed, this posting will likely be out of date by the time readers view it (!). Call your employment lawyer for updates.

Source: Ban the Box Laws by State and Municipality