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Written By ESR News Blog Editor Thomas Ahearn

The Austin City Council has passed Ban the Box legislation to give people with criminal records a fair chance to find work by prohibiting most private employers in the City from conducting a background check into the criminal history of job applicants until after a conditional job offer is made to them.

The Austin Fair Chance Hiring Ordinance (Draft)  will apply to employers – defined as a “person, company, corporation, firm, labor organization, or association” – with fifteen or more employees. The Ban the Box legislation covers most types of employment and will make it unlawful for employers to:

  • Publish information about a job that states or implies the criminal history of job applicants automatically disqualifies them from the job.
  • Solicit or inquire about the criminal history of job applicants in an application for a job.
  • Solicit criminal history information about the criminal history of job applicants unless the employer first makes a conditional job offer.
  • Refuse to consider employing job applicants because the individual did not provide criminal history information before a conditional employment offer.
  • Take adverse action against job applicants because of their criminal history unless the employer determines the criminal history of the applicants bears a direct relation to the duties and responsibilities of the job and makes them unsuitable for the job.

An employer who takes adverse action based on a criminal history of job applicants must inform them in writing that the adverse action was based on their criminal history. An employer may not take adverse action against an individual because that individual reported a violation of the Ban the Box law.

Ban the Box laws have been adopted in more than 100 cities and counties as well as 18 states: California, Colorado, Connecticut, Delaware, Georgia, Hawaii, Illinois, Maryland, Massachusetts, Minnesota, Nebraska, New Jersey, New Mexico, Ohio, Oregon, Rhode Island, Vermont, and Virginia.

Employment Screening Resources® (ESR) supports sensible Ban the Box legislation and encourages employers to prepare to adopt Ban the Box policies. ESR offers a complimentary Ban the Box Information Page with news, resources, and legislation at

ESR offers a whitepaper titled “Ten Critical Steps for Ex-Offenders to Get Back into the Workforce” to assist job applicants with criminal records re-enter society. This complimentary whitepaper is available at

NOTE: Employment Screening Resources® (ESR) does not provide or offer legal services or legal advice of any kind or nature. Any information on this web site is for educational purposes only.

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