Congress Expected to Enact Bipartisan "Ban the Box" Bills

September 18, 2015

This week, bipartisan bills were introduced in the House and Senate to limit criminal history inquiries by federal contractors of job applicants, a prohibition generally referred to as "ban the box."  The Fair Chance Act (H.R. 3470/ S. 2021) would prohibit federal agencies and government contractors from asking about a job applicant's criminal history until after making a conditional employment offer.  However, the prohibition would not apply to positions related to law enforcement and national security duties, positions that require access to classified information, or those where disclosure before the conditional offer stage is required by law.  If passed, the legislation would follow the lead of 18 states that already have similar laws on the books.  Given their strong backing from both parties, the bills are expected to move quickly through the legislative process.