July 22, 2010
“BAN THE BOX” LAWS
By: Susan Price, Senior Attorney
You asked if any states have “ban the box” laws, which prohibit prospective employers from using job applications that require applicants to check a box if they have a criminal history. If so, you want to know if any apply the law to private sector employers, rather than limiting it to state employers.
Counting Connecticut, whose law (PA 10-142) goes into effect October 1, 2010, four states have ban the box statutes (Connecticut, Hawaii, Minnesota, and New Mexico). Only Hawaii's statute extends to private employers, but it excludes prospective employees of the federal government. It also excludes employers who are expressly permitted to inquire into an individual's criminal history for employment purposes under other state or federal laws.
Connecticut's law also excludes employers who are filling positions for which any state law specifically disqualifies a person with a criminal record.
A copy of Hawaii's law (HRS § 378-2.5) is enclosed.