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New "Ban the Box" Criminal Background Legislation Makes Most Job Application Forms Currently In Use Illegal as of January 1, 2014

July 2013

By: James B. Sherman, Esq.

This year the Minnesota legislature passed a new law that will prohibit private employers in Minnesota from inquiring into applicants' criminal record or history until later in the hiring process. Specifically, the new law will prohibit asking an applicant about his or her criminal background until after: (a) the applicant has been selected for a job interview; or (b) if there is no interview, only after a conditional offer of employment has been made to the applicant. Since most employers commonly include on their job applications the question - have you ever been convicted of a crime/felony? - or some similar inquiry, these forms must all be discontinued in recruiting before they soon become illegal. Employers MUST revise their job applications, including on-line applications and any other hiring practices or procedures that may conflict with this new Minnesota law, prior to January 1, 2014!

For more information, see this article from our May Minnesota Client Alert discussing the ramifications of this new law for Minnesota employers. For assistance with revising job applications and compliance advice on all aspects of hiring impacted by this new law as well as other federal and state laws, contact James Sherman, or any of Wessels Sherman's knowledgeable Minnesota attorneys, at (952) 746-1700 or by email, at [email protected].