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Tennessee State Background Check Laws

Ban-the-box became law in Tennessee in April 2016 when the governor signed Senate Bill 2440 (2016). The law prohibited criminal record inquiries on initial state job application forms. Job applicants who have criminal records are given an individualized assessment of their record, following EEOC criteria, and are given the opportunity to provide mitigating information and evidence of rehabilitation.

Although SB 2440 was evidence of progress in Tennessee, in March 2016, the governor had also signed SB 2103, preventing Tennessee cities and counties from extending fair-chance laws to their private employers.

Chattanooga, TN

Chattanooga City Council adopted a resolution in December 2015 which banned-the-box on City employers preliminary job applications. Applicant conviction records can only be examined as part of a routine employment background check.

Hamilton County, TN

2012 saw the removal of criminal history questions from county job applications. This procedural change delays a background check until after a candidate has been selected. Candidates are given the opportunity to discuss their criminal history.

Memphis, TN

In June 2010, a ban-the-box ordinance was passed by the Memphis City Council. Until a candidate is found “otherwise qualified,” no criminal background check is conducted.

Applicants are required to disclose their entire criminal record prior to the background check. Applicants are provided with copies of their background check. An individualized assessment following the EEOC criteria is done in evaluating the applicant’s criminal history. Applicant’s have the right to appeal if they are denied employment.

Nashville, TN

With the exception of police and fire department job applications, the Nashville Metro Civil Service Commission made a procedural change to ban-the-box on City employment application in November 2015.

Cities Include: Nashville, Memphis, Knoxville, Chattanooga, Clarksville, Murfreesboro, Franklin, Jackson and more.