Washington, DC Enacts Ban the Box Legislation

September 18, 2014 | Bryan Barajas

bantheboxOn August 21, 2014, Mayor Vincent C. Gray signed the Under the Fair Criminal Record Screening Amendment Act of 2014.  The new law prohibits employers from inquiring about, or requiring an applicant to disclose, a criminal conviction until after a conditional offer of employment has been made.


The Act also states that an employer may only withdraw a conditional offer of employment based on a criminal conviction for a “legitimate business reason”, which includes any of the following factors:


  1. Duties and responsibilities “necessarily related” to the position;
  2. Bearing, if any, of the conviction on the prospective employee’s fitness or ability to perform his duties and responsibilities;
  3. Time elapsed since the conviction;
  4. Age of the prospective employee when the offense was committed;
  5. Frequency and seriousness of the offense; and
  6. Information produced by the prospective employee regarding his rehabilitation or good conduct since the commission of the offense



Under the Act, an “employer” is defined as any person, company, corporation, firm, labor organization, or association that employs more than 10 employees in the District of Columbia.


An applicant whose conditional offer has been withdrawn or upon whom an adverse action was taken based on a criminal conviction may request that the employer provide a copy of all records obtained on the applicant within 30 days of the action.


The Act does not apply in the following situations:

  1. Where a federal or district law or regulation requires the consideration of an applicant’s criminal history for the purposes of employment;
  2. To a position designated by the employer as part of a federal or district government program or obligation that is designed to encourage the employment of those with criminal histories; or
  3. To any facility or employer that provides programs, services, or direct care to minors or vulnerable adults.

An employer found in violation of the law could face penalties of at least $1,000 and as much as $5,000.


Employers with operations in Washington, DC should review their hiring processes and paperwork to ensure compliance with the law.

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