Recently Governor Kasich signed HB 56 into law, making Ohio one of the many states to enact “ban the box” legislation. The new law prohibits public employers from including on employment applications any questions concerning the criminal background of the applicant. It applies to all public employers, even those whose ability to hire applicants with certain criminal backgrounds is restricted by other statutes. It does not affect private employers.
HB 56 enacts a new section of the Ohio Revised Code, Section 9.73. Under Section 9.73, form applications for public employment may no longer include any questions related to the criminal background of an applicant. Public employers must remove such questions from their applications for employment. However, public employers may include statements on applications notifying applicants of any laws that disqualify individuals with criminal histories from employment in particular positions. Public employers may also still inquire about an applicant’s criminal background later in the hiring process; the question just cannot be on the application itself.
In the wake of the new “ban the box” law, it is important for public employers to review their applications and hiring process to ensure compliance. If you are a public or private employer and have questions or concerns about your employment application forms and/or hiring processes, please contact MRR and we would be happy to review those with you.