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Austin, Texas “Bans the Box” for most employers

On March 24, 2016, the Austin City Council passed a “Ban the Box” ordinance that will impact most private employers within the City.

Employers with 15 or more employees must now delay asking applicants about criminal records or conducting background checks until after a conditional offer of employment is made. 

Under the new requirements, employers are prohibited from taking adverse employment actions based on criminal history unless the employer has determined that the individual’s criminal history bears a direct relation to the duties and responsibilities of the job, thus making the individual unsuitable for the position.  

The ordinance also includes additional adverse action notification requirements, requiring employers who take adverse actions against individuals based on criminal history to inform the individual in writing that the adverse action was based on the individual’s criminal history.

Notably, the ordinance does not apply to a job for which a federal, state or local law disqualifies an individual based on criminal history.

Source: The City of Austin, 3/18/2016

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