Ban the Box St. Louis
March 17th, 2020 | Angela Preston, Senior Vice President and Counsel, Corporate Ethics and Compliance with Ryan Hannan, Compliance Associate
On January 21, 2019, the St. Louis Board of Alderman unanimously passed Ordinance 71074 (the “Ordinance”) to restrict inquires and govern considerations regarding the criminal histories of applicants and employees. Effective January 1, 2021, the Ordinance applies to all employers within the boundaries of St. Louis with ten or more employees.
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Ordinance 71074 Prohibitions
The Ordinance prohibits the following in hiring or promotional practices:
- Relying on criminal history or related sentence as the basis for a decision, unless it is demonstrably related to the position based on frequency, recentness, severity, and reasonable relation to duties and responsibilities
- Inquiring about criminal history before an individual is determined to be otherwise qualified and has been interviewed, however this inquiry may be made of all applicants in the final selection pool
- Publishing job postings and application and employment forms, regardless of format, which note exclusions based on criminal history
- Inquiring about criminal history on the initial application or during the first phase of the hiring process
- Seeking to obtain publicly available information regarding an applicant’s criminal history
The only exception noted is where federal or state laws, or conflicting City ordinances may explicitly prohibit individuals with criminal histories from certain positions. Those who identify potential violations of the Ordinance may submit complaints to the Civil Rights Enforcement Agency, who will review and escalate to the Office of the License Collector if they determine the complaint to have merit. The Office of the License Collector will issue warnings for initial violations and allow for 30 days to come into compliance, followed by civil penalties and potential revocation of business operating licensure for subsequent violations.
St. Louis Ban the Box
St. Louis joins a growing list of state and local jurisdictions enacting similar “Ban the Box” regulations, citing their role in removing barriers to employment and decreasing recidivism for those with criminal histories. St. Louis employers should consult with their legal counsel regarding their current practices for evaluating applicants’ and employees’ criminal histories. Clients can contact their Sterling account representative with questions regarding desired modifications to their services in light of the new compliance obligations.
The full text of the Ordinance can be found here: https://www.stlouis-mo.gov/internal-apps/legislative/upload/Ordinances/BOAPdf/71074%20Combined.pdf
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