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Ban the Box refers to the “box” on job application forms asking prospective employees whether they have ever been convicted of a crime. Some jurisdictions make it illegal for employers to ask applicants such questions until the interview stage while others ban the practice until a conditional job offer has been made.

The trend of states and municipalities enacting these so-called “ban the box” laws is part of a movement to prevent employers from treating all criminal convictions as a sort of “Scarlet Letter” that has the effect of discriminating against minority applicants.

This Guide features states and key municipalities with “ban the box” laws that apply in some way to private employers. States that either have no ban the box requirement or have a requirement that is limited to public employers are marked N/A.

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