Ban the Box Update: New Mexico & Arizona

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New Mexico

This March, New Mexico took a substantial step toward enacting ban the box legislation. Ban the box is the practice of removing the criminal history question from the employment application until later in the hiring process.
SB 96 prohibits private sector employers from asking criminal history questions on initial job applications. Employers may ask about criminal history after reviewing the application and discussing employment with the candidate. Employers may also notify candidates that they can be disqualified from certain positions based on their criminal history.  
The next stop for the bill is the Governor’s office. New Mexico Governor Michelle Lujan Grisham, a Democrat, is expected to sign the bill.

50 state whitepaper


On March 7, the Arizona Senate voted in favor of SB 1437, a proposed Ban the Box bill that would prohibit both public and private sector employers from asking job candidates about their criminal history until after an interview is conducted or, if there is no interview, after a conditional offer of employment is made. After that, employers would still be limited to asking about, considering or requiring disclosure of criminal records from the preceding seven years that are directly related to the desired position.
There would also be several exceptions to the bill. First, it would only apply to businesses with more than 15 employees. Additionally, certain categories of positions – like law enforcement and emergency medical transport – would be exempt under the new law.[1]

Looking Ahead

State-level Ban the Box efforts have become increasingly common in recent years. For many employers, a new Ban the Box law in their state means having to make updates to well-established hiring practices to develop policies around the new requirements.
For an in-depth, state-by-state analysis of current U.S. Ban the Box legislation that impacts private employers, you can access our Ban the Box Whitepaper. Employers should consult qualified legal counsel when developing hiring policies and procedures.
[1] The bill includes a list of positions that would be exempt under the new law:
(1) positions requiring a valid fingerprint clearance card issued by the state;
(2) positions requiring an applicant to submit fingerprints in order to access state and federal criminal records information for noncriminal justice purposes;
(3) law enforcement;
(4) public airport;
(5) probation;
(6) prosecutor agency;
(7) emergency medical services transport;
(8) certified court security officer; and
(9) fire fighter.