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Tennessee Un-Bans the Box

By Michael Klazema on 3/29/2016

The bill specifies that local governments also cannot require businesses to stop asking criminal background questions as a condition of doing business with the local government or doing business in general. As a result of this state law, Memphis Ordinance No. 5063 (which only applies to employees of the city of Memphis) would be affected by it as the ordinance currently bans the box and, “except as otherwise dictated by state and federal law,” permits inquiry into an applicant’s criminal history only after the applicant has been determined to be qualified. Senate Bill 2103 does not affect a county or city’s authority to establish its own employment application standards or hiring processes.

Tennessee is the third state to pass an un-ban the box law along with Mississippi (Senate Bill 2689)) and Michigan (House Bill 4052 (2015)). Tennessee’s law was effective the date it was passed.

What This Means to You

  • This update applies to all employers in Tennessee.
  • The new law restricts local government from requiring private employers that operate within city limits or that contract with the local government to remove questions about criminal background from their applications for hire.

Senate Bill 2103 is available here for review: https://legiscan.com/TN/text/SB2103/id/1321454/Tennessee-2015-SB2103-Draft.pdf


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