New "Ban the Box" law goes into effect in Minnesota

By KBJR News 1

January 2, 2014 Updated Jan 2, 2014 at 6:43 PM CDT

Duluth, MN (NNCNOW.com)--- A new law forbids Minnesota employers from asking about a job candidate's criminal history on employment applications.

The 'ban the box' law removes the question that asks applicants to check a box about whether they have ever been convicted of a felony or gross misdemeanor.

Since 2009, state law banned public employers from inquiring about criminal records or criminal history but as of the first of this year that prohibition has been expanded to private employers as well.

Under the new law, employers must wait until an applicant is selected for an interview to inquire about a criminal history.

Lieutenant Governor Yvonne Prettner Solon says the box on applications gave those with a criminal history an unfair chance at employment.

"It doesn't give them the chance to gain new opportunities, to improve behavior, if there has been a conviction, and to work beyond; and it almost leaves them very few options other than going back to crime in order to support themselves," said Lieutenant Governor Yvonne Prettner-Solon

Employers who violate the new law within the first year will be subject to a written warning for their first offense, followed by fines for any subsequent violations.

Written and posted to the web by Raeanna Marnati