In June 2016, the Louisiana governor signed HB 266 (now Act 398) into law, prohibiting many of the state government employers from asking job applicants about their criminal background until they are interviewed. If there is no interview, the background inquiry cannot occur until there is a conditional offer of employment. The law only covers “unclassified” positions. Certain types of positions, such as corrections and law enforcement, are exempt and continue to require background checks.
The State Civil Service Commission adopted a new Civil Service Rule (22.4.1) in May 2017 that prohibited state employers from having criminal history questions on their job applications for positions in the state classified service. State employers may ask applicants about their criminal history record during an interview, or after a conditional job offer has been made.
Positions that are prohibited by law from being filled by job applicants with specific criminal records are exempt. In the Deep South, Louisiana is noted as being the first state to legislate a fair hiring policy.
The East Baton Rouge Parish Metro Council passed a resolution in November 2015 that eliminated criminal history questions from city job applications. Certain positions are exempt.
A policy memorandum was issued in January 2014 by the City of New Orleans Chief Administrative Office that banned the box on city job applications and delayed background checks until after the interview and a candidate has been deemed qualified for the position.
Applicants will be provided a copy of their background check and can explain the contents of their reports. EEOC criteria will be used to conduct individual assessments of background checks. In October 2018, the City Council approved an ordinance that extended the policy to contractors with the city.
Under the law, background checks are delayed until after the interview and three finalists have been selected. Employers are prohibited from considering any arrests, expunged or sealed convictions, certain types of misdemeanors, and non-felony juvenile convictions when evaluating a job applicant’s criminal background.
Cities Include: New Orleans, Baton Rouge, Shreveport, Lafayette, Lake Charles, Bossier City, Kenner, Monroe and more.
Note: This information is not intended to be legal advice. Please consult with your own legal counsel for advice related to your state/locality.