Minnesota Expands “Ban the Box” to Private Employers In May, Governor Mark Dayton signed a criminal background check bill offering job candidates with an arrest or conviction more opportunities to be evaluated on their skills and experience when applying for positions with private employers starting January, 2014. The new law requires private employers to wait until a job applicant has been selected for an interview or a conditional offer of employment has been extended before asking the applicant about their criminal record or conducting a criminal background record check. The elimination of the question with a check box asking about criminal background on initial job applications have been commonly referred to as “Ban the Box.” “Ban the Box” has applied to public employers in Minnesota since 2009. Nationally, there are 92 million Americans with either an arrest or conviction on their record. This law offers the vast majority of individuals with a non-violent criminal record a second chance at an opportunity for employment to better their lives. Employers may still exclude applicants if required by law not to consider candidates who have been convicted of a crime, thus, existing laws will continue to protect vulnerable adults and children from people with violent or sexual criminal histories. Additionally, employers may still exclude applicants if a crime is relevant to the position’s job duties. The new law outlines potential penalties for employers found in violation of the law. If the Human Rights Commissioner finds that a violation has occurred, the Commissioner may impose penalties.