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Municipal Preemption Laws by State

Authors: Melissa Silver, Marta Moakley and Rena Pirsos, XpertHR Legal Editors

A number of states have enacted laws that prohibit municipalities from adopting ordinances or regulations on a specific area of the law. Specifically, a state government can preempt local and municipal governments from adopting any ordinance expanding an employer's requirements on a certain issue, such as compensation or benefits. Although this practice promotes consistency in administration within a state, a number of preemption laws are being challenged in court.

This chart covers preemption laws that apply to private employers affecting:

  • Compensation and benefits;
  • Distracted driving;
  • Smoke-free/indoor clean air;
  • Discrimination; and
  • "Ban the box" ordinances.

A state that is not known to have a law in this area is marked with N/A.

Issues listed in the "Area of Preemption" column are regulated by state law; as a result, an employer must follow state law for the issue, as local ordinances are prohibited.