Press Release

For Immediate Release: October 31, 2013

Minnesota Businesses Encouraged to Prepare for New ‘Ban the Box’ Law

ST. PAUL, MN – Minnesota businesses are encouraged to prepare for the “Ban the Box” law that becomes effective in 60 days.

The “Ban the Box” law eliminates the question that has a check box asking about criminal background on initial job applications. A recent review of employment applications showed nearly 70 percent of the applications submitted to the Department inquired about a job candidate’s criminal background. While the “Ban the Box” law does not become effective until Jan. 1, 2014, the Department is providing employers with a reminder to update application forms, and adjust hiring practices now before for the law becomes effective.

“Minnesota businesses may not be aware of the new law that takes effect the first of the year,” said Commissioner Kevin Lindsey. “We are providing businesses with education and information regarding the law to encourage a change in their hiring practices before the law becomes effective.”

While MDHR’s review is antidotal in nature, it is in keeping with a Society of Human Resource Management survey which found that approximately 92 percent of its members conducted criminal background checks. Many job candidates are screened out of the hiring process due to a criminal background without regard to the age of the incident, the type of criminal offense and whether the criminal offense is job related. Broad sweeping use of criminal background checks can create a disproportionate impact on various racial and ethnic groups. Many advocates view the “Ban the Box” law as a tool to reduce racial employment disparities.

Employers may still exclude applicants if they are required by law not to hire individuals who have been convicted of a crime, thus, existing laws will continue to protect vulnerable adults and children from people with violent or sexual criminal histories. Additionally, employers may still exclude applicants if a crime is relevant to the position's job duties, but must wait until the preliminary offer or interview stage of the application process to make the inquiry.

The new law outlines potential penalties for employers found in violation of the law. If the Human Rights Commissioner finds that a violation has occurred, the Commissioner may impose penalties up to $500 in 2014.

For more information about criminal background check and Minnesota’s new “Ban the Box” law, visit mn.gov/mdhr or follow the conversation on Twitter at @mnhumanrights.

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EDITOR'S NOTE: Friday, Nov. 1 marks 60 days from implementation. We are providing this release early to allow editors to schedule stories accordingly.

Contact: Christine Dufour
651-539-1118 office
Christine.dufour@state.mn.us

Minnesota Department of Human Rights, Communications Department
Freeman Building, 625 Robert Street North, Saint Paul, MN 55155
mn.gov/mdhr, MDHR YouTube channel

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