And the Ban Keeps Growing…

Written by Robert G. Brody and Susan M. Westphal on December 30, 2014

No one is surprised to hear another city passed a Ban the Box ordinance.  On December 1, 2014, Missouri’s city of Columbia’s joined the movement.  We have previously written about several Ban the Box laws that have been approved, including laws in Illinois and New Jersey.  Ban the Box is an effort to limit employer inquiries about criminal history during the hiring process.

The ordinance that was passed this month is entitled “Employment Opportunities for Qualified Applicants.”  It provides that it is unlawful, except under certain exceptions, to inquire, question or otherwise seek “information on an employment application as to whether an individual has ever been arrested for, charged with, or convicted of a crime” or to “seek information as to whether an applicant has ever been arrested for, or charged with, or convicted of any crime until after the applicant has received a conditional offer of employment.”

While an employer is allowed to notify an applicant in writing of specific offenses that will be a disqualification for employment, employers are encouraged to not automatically ban those with a criminal history.  Violators of the law shall be deemed guilty of a misdemeanor, punished by a fine of $1,000, or face imprisonment not to exceed thirty days.

If you do business in the city of Columbia, you should consult with legal counsel to ensure you are complying with all of the relevant laws.

Brody and Associates regularly advises management on complying with the latest local, state, and federal employment laws.  If we can be of assistance in this area, please contact us at info@brodyandassociates.com or 203.965.0560.

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Related Topics: Legal Updates, Privacy Rights

About the Authors

Robert G. Brody is the founding member of Brody and Associates, LLC. He has been quoted and published in national publications and appears as a guest T.V. commentator on contemporary Labor and Employment issues. Learn More

Susan Westphal has represented employers in employment disputes covering wage and hour claims, discrimination, sexual harassment, retaliation, and employment at will, both in court and before administrative agencies. Learn More »