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Ban the Box Reaches the Federal Government

Effective December 20, 2021: The federal government and its contractors are prohibited from asking about the criminal history of a job applicant prior to a conditional offer of employment. President Trump recently signed the National Defense Authorization Act for Fiscal Year 2020 into law.  This law includes The Fair Chance Act (“Act”) that becomes effective two years after the date of enactment, essentially banning the box for the federal government. The law covers all executive agencies and the legislative and judicial branches of the federal government (other than judges, justices, and magistrates).  Additionally, it applies to civilian agency and defense contracts entered into with private employers.

There are some important exceptions in the Act for federal positions related to law enforcement and national security duties, positions requiring access to classified information, and positions where access to criminal history prior to a conditional offer is required by law.

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Ban the Box laws have already spread throughout much of the country and now to the federal government. For more information on Ban the Box and other laws, and whether they affect your state, visit our resource guide here.

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