St. Louis, MO Ban the Box Ordinance

January 14, 2021

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Key Employer Takeaways:

  • This is considered a ban the box “plus” law as it will require employers to perform individualized assessments, but will not require letter suppression. (See next bullet point)
  • Employers are no longer allowed to base hiring decisions on applicant’s criminal history (or related sentence) unless the employer can show that the decision is based on all information available (including the frequency, recentness, or severity of the criminal history) and the criminal history is reasonably related to or bears upon the duties and responsibility of the position.
  • Employers cannot inquire into applicant’s criminal history until it has been determined that the applicant is otherwise qualified for the position.
  • Employers cannot inquire into or require applicant’s to provide criminal history information on application forms or other forms used in the hiring process.
  • Employers cannot seek publicly available information relating to applicant’s criminal history.

The City of St. Louis passed Ordinance # 71074. This ordinance will apply to private employers within the City of St. Louis with ten (10) or more employees. The effective date of the Ordinance was January 1, 2021. According to the law, employers will be prohibited from requiring applicants to disclose their criminal history information until after the employer has determined that the applicant is otherwise qualified for the position.

Employers will also be prohibited from basing hiring and promotional decisions on applicant’s criminal history until after the employer has considered all available information, including the frequency, recentness and severity of the offense(s) and the offense is “reasonably related to” or “bears upon” the duties and responsibility of the position. Employers are also prohibited from inquiring into or requiring applicants to disclose their criminal history information on application forms or other forms used in the initial hiring process and cannot seek public information concerning applicant’s criminal history.

Specifically, the new Ordinance states:

SECTION ONE. Prohibited Practices.

A. It shall be prohibited for employers located in the City of St. Louis with ten or more employees to:

1. Base a hiring or promotional decision on a job applicant’s criminal history or sentence related thereto, unless the employer can demonstrate that the employment-related decision is based on all information available including the frequency, recentness and severity of the criminal history and the history is reasonably related to or bears upon the duties and responsibilities of the job position; and

2. Inquire about a job applicant’s criminal history until after it has been determined that the applicant is otherwise qualified for the job position, and only after the applicant has been interviewed for position except that such an inquiry may be made of all job applicants who are in the final selection pool from which the position will be filled.

3. Publish job advertisements excluding applicants on the basis of criminal history, regardless of whether such advertisements are in hardcopy or electronic format; and

4. Include statements excluding applicants on the basis of criminal history in job application forms and other employer generated forms used in the hiring process, regardless of whether such forms are hardcopy or electronic format.

5. Inquire into, or require applicants to make disclosures regarding their criminal history on initial job application forms and other employer generated forms used in the initial phase of the hiring process, whether such forms are in hardcopy or electronic format.

6. Seek to obtain publicly available information concerning job applicants’ criminal history.

B. The prohibitions contained in Subsection A, paragraphs 3, 4, 5 and 6 of this Section One shall not apply to job positions where federal or state laws and regulations, City ordinance prohibits employers from employing individuals with certain criminal histories.

SECTION THREE. Penalties.

A. Employers violating this Ordinance shall be subject to the following penalties:

1. For the first violation an employer shall receive a warning issued by the Office of the License Collector, or order requiring that they come into compliance with the provisions of this Ordinance within thirty days.

2. For the second violation an employer shall receive an order issued by the Office of the License Collector requiring that they come into compliance with the provisions of this Ordinance within thirty days and a civil penalty as determined by the License Collector, that should not exceed the maximum amount permitted under the revised code and ordinances of the City of St. Louis.

3. For the third violation an employer shall be subject to potential revocation of their business operating license as deemed appropriate by the Office of the License Collector.

Link to the St. Louis Ban the Box Law: St. Louis, MO Ban the Box Law

Thank you for your business.

The foregoing information is not offered as legal advice but is instead offered for informational purposes. First Advantage Corporation is not a law firm and does not offer legal advice and this communication does not form an attorney client relationship.

The foregoing information is therefore not intended as a substitute for the legal advice of a lawyer knowledgeable of the user’s individual circumstances or to provide legal advice. First Advantage Corporation makes no assurances regarding the accuracy, completeness, currency or utility of the above information. Legislative, regulatory and case law developments regularly impact on general research and this area is evolving rapidly.

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