Excerpted from the HRDirect blog by Shanna Wall

Across the nation, laws restricting employers from asking job candidates about criminal histories are on the rise. As of September 2017, more than 150 cities and counties and 29 states have adopted laws that limit what you can ask job applicants.

Known as “ban-the-box” legislation, the new rules are designed to give individuals with a criminal history a fair chance at employment. Removing the question, ”Have you ever been convicted of a crime?” from job applications encourages employers to consider a candidate’s qualifications first, rather than rejecting someone outright because of a criminal past.

Yet, in most cases, the laws go beyond just requiring you to remove a check box from application forms. Understanding and complying with fair-chance hiring laws can be confusing, especially if they contradict or overlap with existing anti-discrimination laws. How do you know if you’re covered? Here’s an overview with some tips to help you comply.

Does It Apply to My Business?
If you’re in a major urban area, chances are high that ban-the-box laws apply to your business. More than two-thirds of the U.S. population — at least 226 million people — live where some form of ban-the-box or fair-chance policy applies.

In states or cities that have passed this legislation, you can’t inquire about an applicant’s criminal record until the job interview — or, in some cases, after a position has been offered to the applicant. You also may need to delay background checks until then.

These 20 states have ban-the-box laws that apply only to public employers:
• California
• Colorado
• Delaware
• Georgia
• Indiana
• Kentucky
• Louisiana
• Maryland
• Missouri
• Nebraska
• Nevada
• New Mexico
• New York
• Ohio
• Oklahoma
• Pennsylvania
• Tennessee
• Utah
• Virginia
• Wisconsin

You can read the full blog here.