Richmond CA Passes Ban the Box Ordinance Restricting Criminal Background Checks by Employers

A new “Ban the Box” ordinance passed by the City Council of Richmond, California by a 6-1 vote will prohibit private businesses contracting for work with the city “from asking about prior criminal convictions on employment applications” and even “inquiring into the criminal history of an applicant” in some cases, according to a report on the Contra Costa Times website. The report about the “Ban the Box” ordinance, which expands on a 2011 law that removed the question about past criminal convictions from city job applications, is available at

The Contra Costa Times reports the ordinance – sponsored by Richmond Councilmember Jovanka Beckles – “applies to any business with more than 10 employees involved in any form of contract with the city, regardless of where the business is based.” Under the law, “businesses must remove the box inquiring about criminal history from their employment applications.” In addition, the law prohibits businesses “from making any inquiry at any time into criminal history” unless state or federal law requires background checks for the position. However, the law “has exceptions for jobs working with children and seniors” and jobs defined by the police department as “sensitive positions.”

More cities and states are joining the “Ban the Box” movement limiting questions employers may ask about criminal records on job applications. According to a Resource Guide from the National Employment Law Project (NELP), more than 50 cities and counties and ten states such as California have already adopted “Ban the Box” reforms. Other California cities that banned the box include Berkeley, East Palo Alto, Oakland, and San Francisco. The Resource Guide from NELP, a non-profit organization that focuses on issues affecting low-wage and unemployed workers, is available at

The growing “Ban the Box” movement is one of the ‘ESR Top Ten Background Check Trends for 2013’ selected by Attorney Lester Rosen, Founder and CEO of Employment Screening Resources® (ESR), a nationwide background screening provider accredited by The National Association of Professional Background Screeners (NAPBS®). The complete list of trends is available at For more information about ESR, visit or call Toll Free 888.999.4474.


About Employment Screening Resources® (ESR):

Founded by safe hiring expert Attorney Les Rosen in 1997, Employment Screening Resources® (ESR) – ‘The Background Check Authority®’– provides accurate and actionable information that empowers employers to make informed hiring decisions for the benefit of their organizations, employees, and the public. CEO Rosen literally wrote the book on background checks with “The Safe Hiring Manual” and ESR is accredited by The National Association of Professional Background Screeners (NAPBS), a distinction held by a small percent of screening firms. Employers choosing ESR know they have selected an agency meeting the highest industry standards. To learn more about ESR, visit or call toll free 888.999.4474.

About ESR News: 

The Employment Screening Resources® (ESR) News blog – ESR News – provides employment screening information for employers, recruiters, and jobseekers on a variety of topics including credit reports, criminal records, data privacy, discrimination, E-Verify, jobs reports, legal updates, negligent hiring, workplace violence, and use of search engines and social network sites for background checks. For more information about ESR News or to send comments or questions, please email ESR News Editor Thomas Ahearn at To subscribe to the ESR News Blog Feed, visit To subscribe to the complimentary ESRcheck Report monthly newsletter, please visit