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Arrest & Criminal Records

Arrest and Criminal Records

Courts have held that barring job applicants because of an arrest and/or criminal conviction record may have a statistically significant, adverse impact on members of racial or ethnic minority groups. An employer's hiring policy regarding criminal convictions may be held to be discriminatory when, absent a bona fide occupational qualification, a minority-group member's criminal conviction record is an absolute bar to employment, provided that a statistically significant adverse impact is shown within the protected class.

Within this context, how recent and the job-relatedness of any conviction must be considered by the employer before making an adverse hiring decision relating to criminal record. It is generally advisable that employers inform job applicants at the time of application that these mitigating factors will be considered; an employer's failure to do so may have a chilling effect on job applicants pursuing a job with that employer, which may prove to be discriminatory.

"Ban the Box"

In 2013, Governor Mark Dayton signed a bill expanding the "Ban the Box" law to private employers, which went into effect Jan. 1, 2014. "Ban the Box" has applied to public employers in Minnesota since 2009.  (Minn. Statutes 364.021.)

The law requires public, and private, employers to wait until a job applicant has been selected for an interview or conditional offer of employment has been extended before asking a job applicant about criminal records or conducting a criminal record check. This law offers the vast majority of individuals with a non-violent criminal record a second chance at an opportunity for employment to better their lives.

Existing laws continue to protect vulnerable adults and children from people with violent or sexual criminal histories. Additionally, employers may exclude applicants if a crime is relevant to the position's job duties.

More on Criminal Background Checks here.

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