Minnesota's Fair Chance Law
Source: National Employment Law Project
Signed on May 13, 2013 by Governor Mark Dayton (D), SF 523 amends Minn. Stat. § 364 et seq. This amendment expands the law from 2009 to cover not only public-sector hiring, but also adds that pri- vate employers may not inquire into an applicant’s criminal history until after the applicant has been selected for an interview or before a conditional offer of employment. It also establishes penalties for private employers including fines for failure to comply. Behind the legislative win, the Minnesota Second Chance Coalition built on the 2009 success of HF 1301, which added section 364.021 to Minn. Stat. § 364 et seq. applying ban-the-box to public employment. Longstanding statutory protections preceding that bill, dating back to 1974, include a prohibition against disqualifying applicants from public employment or licensure unless the conviction is “directly related” to the posi- tion of employment or occupational license sought, a requirement that job-related factors be consid- ered, and a ban on using records of arrest not followed by valid conviction, annulled or expunged convictions, and misdemeanor convictions for which no jail sentence can be imposed when evaluating applicants for public employer or licensure. Introduced by Sen. Bobby Joe Champion (DFL)
Commentary: HF 1301 was signed by then-Governor Tim Pawlenty (R). Just as HF 1301 (2009) was an example of bipartisanship, SF 523 (2013) had Republican and Democratic support. Shortly after the 2013 success, the Minneapolis based retailer Target announced it would ban-the-box nationally.