On Monday this week, Arizona Governor Doug Ducey signed Executive Order 2017-07 to provide “second chance opportunities” for the 1.5 million Arizonans with criminal records.  The Order prohibits state agencies from initially questioning job applicants about their criminal records.  Arizona cities Phoenix, Tempe, and Tucson already have similar laws for city job applications.

Importantly, Ducey’s Order still allows state agencies to check the applicant’s criminal record—just after the applicant has received an initial interview—and the Order does not apply to private Arizona employers.  Ducey affirmed that he doesn’t “set policy for private employers.”  Instead, he stated, “We’re trying to lead the way in terms of examples from state government.”

Arizona joins 29 other states that have prohibited questions about criminal records in initial state employment applications.  Ten states, including California, have imposed the same limitation on private employers.

The “ban the box” movement continues to spread.  Employers should check local laws before creating application forms or interview questions that call for the applicant’s criminal history.