The Minnesota Governor signed legislation commonly known as “Ban the Box” this past May. The bill becomes effective January 1, 2014.
Banning the box refers to the elimination of an inquiry into a person’s criminal history on a job application. This bill extends the limitations currently imposed on the public sector to include private employers. Private employers will be prohibited from inquiring into or considering, or requiring disclosure of, the criminal record or criminal history of an applicant for employment until the applicant has been selected for an interview, or before a conditional offer of employment is made to the applicant.
Monetary remedies are established for violations of the law. The Commissioner of Human Rights may impose the following:
- For violations that occur before January 1, 2015, the penalties are as follows:
- A written warning is issued for the first violation that includes a notice the penalties for subsequent violations;
- If the first violation is not remedied within 30 days of the issuance of the warning, a fine of up to $500 may be imposed; and
- Subsequent violations are subject to a fine of up to $500 per violation, not to exceed $500 in a calendar year.
- For violations that occur after December 31, 2014, the penalties are as follows:
- For employers that employ ten or fewer persons at a site in the state, the penalty is up to $100 for each violation, not to exceed $100 in a calendar month;
- For employers that employ eleven to 20 persons at a site in the state, the penalty is up to $500 for each violation, not to exceed $500 in a calendar month;
- For employers that employ more than 20 persons at one or more sites in the state, the penalty is up to $500 for each violation, not to exceed $2,000 in a calendar month;
The remedies listed above are exclusive and private employers are not additionally liable for non-compliance with the law.
The bill does not exempt an employer from conducting a criminal history background investigation or consider criminal history record when there is a legal requirement to do so. It outlines other exemptions particular to certain types of employment such as law enforcement and fire protection agencies.
A copy of the bill is available at: https://www.revisor.mn.gov/bills/text.php?number= SF523&version=2&session=ls88&session_year=2013&session_number=0&format=pdf