Minnesota Lawmakers Pass Ban the Box Law

Minnesota employers should be aware of a new law going into effect January 1, 2014. The law, christened “Ban the Box” by some, requires that any inquiry into a job applicant’s criminal history cannot be made before the employee’s interview. Thus, all applications should be reviewed before the turn of the year and questions about criminal history be removed.

Important to note is that the employer’s right to conduct a thorough criminal history search are not revoked, but the search can only be made after the first interview. If not interview is arranged, there must first be a conditional offer of employment made before the criminal history inquired into. CRAs fall into this category and cannot be requested before the aforementioned step of the hiring process. Minnesota lawmakers hope this step will help prevent employment discrimination based on the applicant’s past.

There are a few exceptions to this rule. The following are a few of the excluded categories:

  • Department of Corrections
  • Teachers
  • Emergency medical personnel
  • School bus drivers
  • Doctors (after their license has been revoked)

This regulation will be enforced with up to a $500 fine administered by the Human Rights Commission. Consumers cannot sue companies for negligence. The law attempts to make sure there is “no negligent hiring if the job really does expose people to danger” but still prevent discrimination during the hiring process.

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