Unwrapping Ban the Box Updates in St. Louis

The city of St. Louis wrapped up its new Ban the Box law with a bow just in time for the new year. This means all employers in St. Louis have just over a month to renovate hiring processes before the law goes into effect.

Since our last update, the proposed Ban the Box law passed in St. Louis in January 2020.  Known as Ordinance 71074, the new law will create ban the box requirements for all employers in St. Louis starting next year. Let’s do a quick refresher of what will be required starting January 1, 2021.

The Ordinance Specifics

Starting January 1, 2021, the ordinance prohibits all employers in St. Louis with ten or more employees (with certain exceptions) from:

  • Making hiring or promotion decisions based on criminal history or a related sentence, with some exceptions. Employers can consider criminal history or a related sentence if they’re reasonably related to the job. They must show they used all information in making the decisions, including the frequency, recentness, and severity of the criminal history.
  • Inquiring about an applicant’s criminal history too early. Employers should make sure the applicant is qualified before asking about criminal history. In most cases, employers must wait until after an interview before making a criminal history inquiry.
  • Publishing job ads excluding applicants based on criminal history.
  • Using job applications or other hiring forms that include statements that applicants are excluded based on their criminal histories.
  • Asking about criminal history on the job application or other hiring forms.
  • Seeking public information about an applicant’s criminal history.

Violation Penalties

Employers should take note of the new law. Penalties increase with each violation:

  • A first violation could result in a warning or an order to comply.
  • A second violation could lead to an order to comply plus civil penalties.
  • A third violation could result in the loss of a business operating license.

As the countdown to the new year begins, you may need help unwrapping the new city-wide ordinance. Check in with your legal counsel about how the new ban the box law may impact you.

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