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D.C. Employers Pay Nearly $500,000 in ‘Ban the Box’ Violations Over the Past 5 Years

Ban the Box has been in effect since 2014 in Washington, D.C., but you wouldn’t know it by the actions of some D.C. businesses.  More than 1,100 administrative charges have been filed against employers who continue to ask about criminal histories on job applications, despite the ban.  Those charges have resulted in approximately $500,000 in fines, according to a report by the D.C. Office of Human Rights.  The report also notes that the city has received more than 1,800 complaints since the D.C. Council passed the Fair Criminal Record Screening Act, which prevented employers from inquiring about an applicant’s criminal history before an offer is made.

With regard to the violations, a vast majority of them (more than 90%) were related to criminal background questions that appeared on job applications, while less than 5% were related to questions an employer asked in an interview.

Penalties for violations of D.C.’s Ban the Box law, which applies to employers with at least 11 employees, include up to the following amounts, with half going to the complainant and half to the District:

  • $1000 for employers with 11 to 30 employees;
  • $2500 for employers with 31 to 99 employees; and
  • $5000 for employers with 100 or more employees.


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Washington D.C. is continuously taking actions to enforce their Ban the Box law.  As such, D.C. employers should review their applications and ensure there is no question on there that could violate the Ban the Box law.


For more information on Ban the Box and other laws and whether they affect your state, visit our resource guide at


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