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Ban the Box Laws by State and Municipality

Author: David B. Weisenfeld, XpertHR Legal Editor

The 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 jurisdictions 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.

States that have passed these so-called "Ban the Box" laws to varying degrees are included on this chart. 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. According to the National Employment Law Project (NELP), the following key municipalities, in addition to states, have enacted Ban the Box laws or policies that apply to private employers to reduce barriers to employment for applicants with criminal records.

Additional details are available in many cases by clicking on the relevant state or locality.