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State’s ban-the-box law helps jobseekers with criminal records

On Behalf of | Oct 31, 2020 | Criminal Defense

Minnesota’s Department of Human Rights explains how the state’s ban-the-box law levels the playing field for jobseekers with criminal convictions. You may benefit from this law if you fear that a criminal record could interfere with your job search. 

Ban-the-box limits the ability of most public and private employers to seek information about job applicants’ prior criminal offenses. 

Employers may not ask about criminal history in the early hiring stages

An employer may not ask you to disclose your criminal history or record before an interview or conditional offer. For example, at the early stages of hiring, an employer may not ask about prior arrests, convictions or guilty pleas. In most cases, an employer may not ask about driving violations. 

The law does not entirely prohibit an employer from looking at a jobseeker’s criminal history. Employers may conduct criminal background checks before hiring you. They must conduct these checks after interviewing you or making a conditional employment offer. 

The state fines employers who violate this law. Most employers quickly correct their hiring practices after receiving a notice of violation and fine. 

Exemptions allow employers to ask about criminal background in some cases

Employers may have the obligation under federal or state law to consider your criminal history when you apply for certain positions or occupations. For example, you may seek a commercial motor vehicle driver job. In this case, federal law demands that employers ask about prior moving violations. Asking this question does not violate state law because federal law requires this information. 

Employers do not need to hire or give preference to someone with a criminal record.