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Employment Blog

Minnesota Joins Other States in Protecting Applicant Information

Authored by Dean R. Dietrich
Posted on January 13, 2014
Filed under Employment

As of January 1, 2014, employers in Minnesota may not ask an employee for information about their criminal background in the employment application process. This is known as "Ban-the-Box" law which has been passed in seven states, and similar laws are pending in 26 other states. The law prohibits employers from having a question on their employment application where the applicant would "check the box" and indicate their criminal background or conviction record history. Legislation of this type is not pending in Wisconsin but would apply to a Wisconsin employer that has a business in Minnesota and is hiring employees for that business.

This type of legislation is one of several pieces of legislation that are being considered throughout the country relating to workplace privacy. Another example is the legislation that prohibits an employer from asking for the Facebook password of an employee or applicant to investigate information posted by the individual on Facebook.

We can anticipate a number of changes in the area of workplace privacy and the expectation of privacy given to an employee. Much of this will change how the employer can investigate the actions of an employee or discipline an employee for things stated on a Facebook page or other social media conduit. Legislation at the state level and federal level will likely be debated throughout the course of this year that expands these employee privacy rights. Each employer should be careful and make sure they are in full compliance with restrictions that exist under these legislative enactments.