Fair Hiring Laws, Updated States, and What You Need to Know

Background checks

Fair hiring laws are often referred to as ‘Ban-the-Box’ or fair-chance hiring laws. These laws require employers to remove questions on job applications that ask whether the candidate has ever been convicted of a crime. These questions frequently only have a yes or no option and do not allow the applicant to provide any additional information.

These laws try to prevent discrimination against those who have a previous criminal record, especially those convicted of minor or non-violent crimes. The details of fair hiring laws may vary from place to place, as these laws are generally adopted at a state, county, or local level. These laws may also complicate things for employers related to compliance since the requirements for Fair Hiring laws often differ from federal Fair Credit Report Act requirements.

Currently, many states in the United States have fair hiring laws either on the state, county, or local level. A state-by-state summary of where there are existing fair hiring laws includes:

  • Alabama: the city of Birmingham
  • Arizona: the cities of Glendale, Phoenix, Tempe, and Tucson; Coconino and Pima counties
  • Arkansas: the city of Pine Bluff and Pulaski county
  • California: the cities of Berkeley, Carson, Compton, Oakland, Los Angeles, Richmond, and San Francisco
  • Colorado: the city of Denver
  • Connecticut: the cities of Bridgeport, Hartford, and New Haven
  • Florida: the cities of Clearwater, Daytona Beach, Fort Myers, Gainesville, Jacksonville, Orlando, Pompano Beach, Sarasota, St. Petersburg, Tampa, Tallahassee, Tamarac; Broward and Miami Dade counties
  • Georgia: the cities of Albany, Atlanta, Augusta, and Columbus; Cherokee, Fulton, and Macon-Bibb counties
  • Illinois: the city of Chicago
  • Kansas: the cities of Kansas City, Topeka, and Wichita; Johnson and Wyandotte counties
  • Kentucky: the city of Louisville
  • Louisiana: the cities of Baton Rouge and New Orleans
  • Maryland: the city of Baltimore; Montgomery and Prince George’s counties
  • Massachusetts: the cities of Boston, Cambridge, and Worcester
  • Michigan: the cities of Ann Arbor, Detroit, East Lansing, Grand Rapids, Kalamazoo, Ypsilanti; Genesee, Muskegon, and Oakland counties
  • Minnesota: the cities of Minneapolis and St. Paul
  • Mississippi: the city of Jackson (only contains a provision that the city shall not contain inquiries regarding prior salary history)
  • Missouri: the cities of Columbia, Kansas City, and St. Louis; Jackson county
  • Nevada: the city of North Las Vegas
  • New York: the cities of Buffalo, Ithaca, Kingston, Newburgh, New York City, Rochester, Syracuse, Woodstock, and Yonkers; Albany, Dutchess, Suffolk, Tompkins, and Ulster counties
  • North Carolina: the cities of Asheville, Carrboro, Charlotte, Durham, New Bern, and Spring Lake; Buncombe, Cumberland, Durham, Forsyth, Mecklenburg, and Wake counties
  • Ohio: the cities of Akron, Alliance, Canton, Cincinnati, Cleveland, Dayton, Massillon, Newark, Warren, Youngstown; Cuyahoga, Franklin, Hamilton, Lucas, and Summit counties
  • Oregon: the city of Portland; Multnomah county
  • Pennsylvania: the cities of Allentown, Bethlehem, Lancaster, Philadelphia, Pittsburgh, Reading, and New York; Allegheny county
  • Rhode Island: the city of Providence
  • South Carolina: the cities of Aiken, Columbia, and Spartanburg; Richland and York counties
  • Tennessee: the cities of Chattanooga, Memphis, and Nashville; Hamilton and Shelby counties
  • Texas: the cities of Austin and San Antonio; Dallas and Travis counties
  • Virginia: the cities of Alexandria, Blacksburg, Charlottesville, Danville, Fredericksburg, Harrisonburg, Newport News, Norfolk, Petersburg, Portsmouth, Richmond, Roanoke, Staunton, and Virginia Beach; Arlington, Fairfax, Henry, Montgomery, and Prince William counties
  • Washington: the cities of Seattle, Spokane, and Tacoma; Pierce and Spokane counties
  • Wisconsin: the cities of Madison and Milwaukee; Dane and Milwaukee counties

Since the details of these fair hiring laws may vary from one municipality to another, one county to another, or one state to another, it is vital that you check the specific laws if you live in a region with a current law.

What do Fair Hiring Laws Mean for Background Checks?

Many fair hiring laws also dictate when an employer can conduct a background check. In many instances, the requirement prohibits employers from conducting a background check until after a conditional offer of employment has been made. It may also outline how you should notify candidates of your background check policies and require you to alert a candidate if you then reject their application or terminate the job offer based on information revealed during a background check.

The reality is that while these laws do serve to prevent discriminatory hiring practices based on previous criminal convictions, they also make the background check and screening process for employers much more difficult. And a failure to comply with these laws can result in punitive fines or other damages. Contact USA Fact today to learn more about staying compliant with fair hiring laws in your area.

USA Fact Global Screening Services provides comprehensive background and criminal checks for employers that comply with federal and local laws. By helping you eliminate high-risk applicants through tailored solutions, USAFact enables you to create a safe and productive work environment and a foundation for future success.