Fair Chance Law Tracker


Imagine applying for a job with hope and determination, only to find your application halted in its tracks due to a past record of arrest. This has been the reality for millions of Americans, where the presence of an arrest record can become an insurmountable barrier to employment.

For too long, individuals with arrest or conviction records have faced steep barriers to employment, hindered not just by their past but by the initial stages of the job application process itself. Recognizing this issue, government entities across the nation have championed a movement towards equity and fairness in hiring practices through Fair Chance legislation.

States and municipalities have taken significant steps by enacting laws known as “Ban the Box” – a reference to the once-standard question on job applications inquiring about criminal history. The goal? To eliminate the immediate bias that shadows qualified candidates, ensuring that everyone gets a fair shot at proving their capabilities before their background comes into play.

These laws go beyond simply removing a checkbox. They carefully outline when, why, and how employers can conduct background checks, emphasizing that such inquiries should come later in the hiring process, such as after a conditional offer has been made. This change is pivotal, creating a landscape where an individual’s qualifications are the focus, not their past.

However, navigating the intricacies of Fair Chance laws reveals their complexity. These regulations are reshaping hiring norms, affecting both public and private sectors in diverse ways. While many laws apply broadly, including to private employers, some remain specific to public-sector jobs.

The implementation of Fair Chance Hiring laws marks a crucial step towards dismantling the systemic barriers that hinder millions from accessing meaningful employment opportunities. By supporting these initiatives, we’re not just advocating for a change in hiring practices; we’re championing a future where every individual has the chance to contribute to our society, rebuild their lives, and thrive in their careers.

As you explore our heat map of states that have embraced Fair Chance Hiring, remember that each point of light represents a community’s commitment to inclusivity, equity, and the belief that everyone deserves a second chance.

*Data updated on a quarterly basis