Tennessee Governor Signs Ban the Box Law Applying to Background Checks

Tennessee has a new Ban the Box law for state employers. Signed by Governor Bill Haslam, the legislation (SB 2440) prohibits a state employer from inquiring about an applicant's criminal history on the initial job application. State employers can still conduct background checks, but later on in the hiring process (after the initial screen of applications). The purpose of the ban the box measure is to provide a non-discriminatory process at the onset and provide applicants with an opportunity to explain a past conviction and showcase their skills during the interview stage of the hiring process.

Exemptions (covered positions) include positions for which a criminal background check is required under federal law. In addition, the legislation requires state employer to provide a notice in the job announcement that a criminal background check is required for job consideration.

A summary of the measure states; “This bill requires a state employer, in considering an applicant with a criminal history for a position for employment other than a covered position, to consider”:

  1. The specific duties and responsibilities of the position
  2. The bearing, if any, that an applicant's criminal history may have on the applicant's fitness or ability to perform the duties required by the position
  3. The amount of time that has elapsed since the applicant's conviction or release
  4. The age of the applicant at the time of the commission of each offense
  5. The frequency and seriousness of each offense
  6. Any information produced by the applicant regarding the applicant's rehabilitation and good conduct since the occurrence of an offense; and
  7. Any public policy considerations with respect to the benefits of employment for applicants with criminal histories.

Click here to read the new Tennessee Ban the Box law (SB 2440).


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