Ban the Box - Chart

Author: David B. Weisenfeld, XpertHR Legal Editor

The recent trend of states enacting Ban the Box laws is part of a movement to prevent employers from treating all criminal convictions as a sort of "Scarlet Letter" that has the effect of discriminating against minority applicants.

Ban the Box refers to the "box" on job application forms where prospective employees are asked whether they have ever been convicted of a crime. Some states make it illegal for employers to ask applicants such questions until a conditional job offer has been made while others ban the practice until the interview stage.

Many of the nation's largest cities also have enacted laws prohibiting employers from asking applicants if they have been convicted of a felony on job application forms.

States that have passed these so-called "Ban the Box" laws to varying degrees include:

State Affected Employers Effective Date
California State and local government employers July 1, 2014
Colorado State employers and licensing agencies 2012
Connecticut State employers 2010
Delaware State and local government employers Nov. 4, 2014
Hawaii Public and Private employers 1998
Illinois State employers
Private employers
Oct. 2013
Jan. 1, 2015
Maryland State employers Oct. 1, 2013
Massachusetts Public and Private employers 2010
Minnesota Public employers
Private employers
2009
Jan. 1, 2014
Nebraska Public employers April 17, 2014
New Jersey Public and private employers March 1, 2015
New Mexico Public employers 2010
Rhode Island Public and private employers Jan. 1, 2014

According to the National Employment Law Project (NELP), the following US cities have enacted Ban the Box laws to reduce barriers to the employment of applicants with criminal records. The cities with links have Ban the Box requirements that also apply to all or most private employers or include other additional requirements:

Akron, OH Louisville, KY
Alexandria, VA Masillon, OH
Ann Arbor, MI Memphis, TN
Atlanta, GA Minneapolis, MN
Atlantic City, NJ Newark, NJ
Austin, TX New Haven, CT
Baltimore, MD New Orleans, LA
Berkeley, CA Newport News, VA
Boston, MA New York City
Bridgeport, CT Norfolk, VA
Buffalo, NY Norwich, CT
Cambridge, MA Oakland, CA
Canton, OH Petersburg, VA
Carrboro, NC Philadelphia, PA
Carson, CA Pittsburgh, PA
Chicago, IL Portsmouth, VA
Cincinnati, OH Providence, RI
Cleveland, OH Richmond, CA
Compton, CA Richmond, VA
Detroit, MI Rochester, NY
Durham, NC San Francisco, CA
East Lansing, MI Seattle, WA
East Palo Alto, CA Spring Lake, NC
Hartford, CT St. Paul, MN
Indianapolis, IN Tampa, FL
Jacksonville, FL Washington, DC
Kalamazoo, MI Wilmington, DE
Kansas City, MO Worcester, MA

Some notable US counties that have "banned the box" on application forms include:

Alameda County, CA Multnomah County, OR
Cumberland County, NC Muskegon County, MI
Dane County, WI New Castle County, DE
Durham County, NC Santa Clara County, CA
Genesee County, MI Travis County, TX

Additional Resources

Recruiting and Hiring > Preemployment Screening and Testing (Massachusetts) > The CORI Reform Law; Arrest and Conviction Records

Recruiting and Hiring > Preemployment Screening and Testing (Hawaii) > "Ban the Box" Law