On February 1, the city council of Kansas City, Missouri passed a “ban the box” ordinance which prohibits nearly all Kansas City employers from inquiring into an applicant’s criminal history until after the applicant has been interviewed. The ordinance – titled “Criminal Records in Employment” and effective June 9, 2018 – applies to those with six or more employees in the city, but excludes employers that are prohibited by a local, state, or federal law or regulation from considering applicants with a criminal record.

Kansas City government adopted the policy for most city employees in 2013, while the state of Missouri approved it for state hiring in 2016.

Following an applicant’s interview, but before an offer is extended, employers are permitted to ask about the applicant’s criminal history. Yet, the ordinance prohibits an employer from basing a hiring decision on this factor alone. Penalties for violating the ordinance include a loss of business licensure for up to 30 days on the first offense and permanently if more than three violations occur within five years, fines of up to $500, and/or imprisonment for up to 180 days.

Kansas City is now one of more than 150 cities and counties in the United States to enact a “ban the box” ordinance.