State and local laws for employment-related protection to ex-offenders continue to grow

A new Indiana law (House Enrolled Act 1482) that prohibits employers from asking about or otherwise considering expunged or sealed arrest and conviction records goes into effect July 1, 2013.  And a similar North Carolina law (SB 91) takes effect December 1, 2013.

The City of Buffalo too is giving ex-offenders increased employment opportunities with its May 28, 2013 ordinance which amends Chapter 154 of the Code of the City of Buffalo by prohibiting public and private employers and city vendors from asking job candidates about their criminal conviction history during the application process and prior to the first interview. And a new “ban the box” ordinance has been unanimously adopted in Seattle on June 10, 2013 that will give ex-offenders special rights in the job application process. Seattle’s Council Bill 117796 provides for administrative enforcement but affords no private right of action.

Indiana and North Carolina, and Buffalo and Seattle, are just the latest additions to the fast growing list of states and municipalities that regulate the use of criminal records in employment decisions. And pending before Congress is the federal HR 6220 or “Ban the Box Act” introduced last July, which similar to these state and local laws, would make it illegal for an employer to ask about criminal history in an interview or on an employment application.