Columbia City, Missouri Bans the Box

The City Council of Columbia, Missouri passed an ordinance to ban the box, restrict employer access to criminal history information on employment applications and more.

Council bill B328-14 passed and became effective on December 1, 2014.

The ordinance prohibits all employers in the city from inquiring, questioning, or seeking information about arrests, charges or convictions on an employment application or at any time before making an offer of employment.

Exceptions include:

  • When employers are required to exclude applicants with certain criminal convictions from employment due to locate, state, or federal law or regulation
  • When fidelity bond or equivalent bond is required for the position and a conviction would disqualify the applicant from the bond
  • When hiring individuals licensed under the Emergency Medical Services (EMS) Systems Act.
In addition, employers are not prohibited from notifying applicants in writing of the specific offenses which would disqualify them from employment for a particular position. The ordinance warns against having an automatic ban on jobseekers with a criminal history. It encourages employers to consider the nature of the offense, time elapsed since the offense, and corrective measure when making employment decisions about applicants with criminal histories.

The city's Human Rights Commission will enforce the ordinance. Violations can result in a misdemeanor conviction and a fine of up to $1,000 or imprisonment for 30 days.