As advised in a previous legal update on April 20, 2013, the Minnesota Senate passed a bill (S.F. 523) to amend Minn. Stat. § 364.021 to prohibit criminal history requests on employment applications. After April 20, the Minnesota House substituted the Senate bill for the House’s companion bill and passed the Senate version of the bill on May 8. Governor Dayton signed the bill into law on May 13 (Chapter 61, Senate File 523).

As a result, effective January 1, 2014, all employers will be prohibited from considering or requiring the disclosure of the criminal record or criminal history of an applicant for employment until the applicant has been selected for an interview or, if there is no interview, until after a conditional offer of employment has been made to the applicant by the employer, unless the employer has a statutory duty to conduct a criminal history background investigation or consider criminal history records during the hiring process or otherwise fits within the limited exceptions identified in Minn. Stat. § 364.09. An employer who violates Minn. Stat. § 364.021 could face penalties imposed by the Minnesota Commissioner of Human Rights, including penalties ranging from $100 to $500 for each violation (subject to penalty caps of up to $2,000 per month, with the maximum penalty tied to when the violations occur and the number of employees in Minnesota employed by the employer).

To learn more about this bill and other employment-related bills considered by the Minnesota legislature this session, you can register for the one-hour “Employment Law: What Happened at the Legislature” webinar that Faegre Baker Daniels LLP will host on Thursday, May 23, in partnership with the Minnesota Chamber of Commerce.