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Minnesota Background Check Pre-Employment Laws​

What are Minnesota’s background check and ban-the-box laws?

Under Minnesota Statutes 2003 13.02 subdivision 2 – Form, all Minnesota employers must inform job applicants in writing before they order a background check, and include a box that the applicant can check to indicate they would like to receive a copy of their background check.

If requested by the job applicant, the background check will be sent to the applicant free of charge within 24 hours by the CRA that compiled the report. Furthermore, under 181.645, Expenses for Background Checks, Testing and Orientation, unless covered under the provisions of Section 123B.03, or other legal provisions, employers are prohibited from requiring applicants or current employees to pay the costs of procuring their own background reports.

The Minnesota ban-the-box law applies to all public sector employers and licensing authorities in the state. Employers, both public and private, cannot have a background check into the potential criminal record history of applicants until they have been referred for an interview or a conditional employment offer has been made. Additionally, public sector employers cannot consider arrest records that did not result in a conviction, those convictions which were expunged or annulled, or convictions for misdemeanors that did not result in a jail sentence.

In regard to potential adverse actions, individualized assessments are required for public sector positions and any position that requires licensure. Before a final adverse action is taken by a public sector employer to deny public employment, or disqualify an applicant from a position requiring licensure, the individual applicant must be furnished written notice of the reasons for disqualification for the license or denial of the position.

The means by which they can grieve or appeal the decision, the earliest date that another job application or licensing request can be submitted, and how to provide qualifying evidence of rehabilitation with the subsequent job application or license request.

Minnesota Senate Bill 523 (2013) amended Minnesota Statute § 364 et seq to cover public- and private-sector hiring, prohibiting private employers from running a criminal background check until after the job applicant is selected for an interview or a conditional offer of employment has been made.

Minnesota has statutory protections dating back to 1974 prohibiting criminal convictions from disqualifying applicants from public employment/licensure unless their conviction was directly related the position/license sought after, the requirement that factors related to the job are given consideration, and a ban on the consideration of arrests that were not followed by a conviction, or when the conviction was annulled or expunged. Misdemeanors that carried no jail sentence were also excluded from consideration.

Minneapolis, MN: The municipality of Minneapolis, MN passed a city resolution in December 2006, requiring employment background checks only for certain positions, incorporating EEOC criteria in individualized assessments of job applicants, banning the box requiring disclosure of past criminal history on job applications, and only performing background checks after an applicant has been determined to be fully qualified for the position, otherwise.

St. Paul. MN: In December 2006, the mayor of the City of St. Paul, MN directed reform in the City’s hiring practices to provide “all applicants…. a full and fair opportunity for employment,” mirroring the Minneapolis city resolution, including the incorporation of EEOC criteria in individualized applicant assessments.

In that same month, the City Council of St. Paul approved a resolution that banned the box, required background checks for only certain sensitive positions, mandated the performance of background checks only after an applicant has been determined to be otherwise fully qualified for the position.

Cities Include: Minneapolis, St. Paul, Rochester, Duluth, Bloomington, Brooklyn Park, Plymouth, Maple Grove, Woodbury 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.

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