Employers Beware: Newark Passes “Ban the Box” Legislation


With the passage of a new municipal law ("Ordinance") that becomes effective November 18, 2012, the City of Newark, New Jersey, will join more than 40 other municipalities (including Atlanta, Baltimore, Chicago, Detroit, Philadelphia, and Seattle) in limiting an employer's right to inquire into a job applicant's criminal history. In addition to generally prohibiting criminal background inquiries before extending a conditional offer of employment, the Ordinance limits the criminal background information about which an employer may inquire and that an employer may use in making a hiring decision.

This limitation on employer hiring practices has been referred to as the "ban the box" movement and has been gaining momentum nationwide. Newark's Ordinance is one of the most expansive and one of just two "ban the box" ordinances (Philadelphia having the other) to cover nearly all private employers doing business in the city. However, nine other cities, including Boston, New Haven, and Detroit, have adopted "ban the box" ordinances that cover private employers that do business with their respective municipality.

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