Last week, Ohio Governor John Kasich signed into law a bill that will bar public employers from including on job applications questions concerning an applicant’s criminal background for public sector jobs.

Earlier this month, the Ohio Senate voted overwhelmingly, on a 32-1 vote, to “ban the box” for public sector jobs.  In late September, the House passed the Ohio Fair Hiring Act on a vote of 89-1.  The measure extended the prohibition on inquiring as to criminal history at the application stage to all non-federal public employers, including cities, counties, villages, townships, and schools.

Under the bill, a public employer would still be allowed to do a background check and reject applicants with recent or relevant offenses after the initial application stage.  The bill does not apply to persons seeking private employment.

More than 100 cities and counties and 15 states have adopted similar rules, but only Hawaii, Illinois, Massachusetts, Minnesota, New Jersey, Rhode Island, the District of Columbia, and cities such as San Francisco and Chicago, have passed laws that govern how non-public employers address the issue of an applicant’s criminal background.

Troutman Sanders has extensive experience in counseling companies on background screening compliance, including in “ban the box” jurisdictions.