HR Management & Compliance

Delaware governor signs ‘ban the box’ bill

by Molly DiBianca

Delaware has joined the ranks of states adopting “ban the box” laws, measures that limit how employers can request criminal history information during the hiring process.

Delaware’s law, signed into law by Governor Jack Markell on May 8, makes criminal histories and credit scores off limits on applications for public-sector jobs. Here are key aspects of the law:

  • Public employers and state contractors are prohibited from inquiring into or considering the criminal record, criminal history, or credit history or score of an applicant before making a conditional offer of employment.
  • Employers may perform a background check once a conditional offer has been made, but they may consider felonies for only 10 years from the completion of the sentence and misdemeanors for five years from the completion of the sentence.
  • The law also requires employers to consider several factors when deciding whether to revoke a conditional offer of employment because of the results of a criminal background check. Those factors include the nature of the crime, rehabilitation, and the criminal activity’s relationship to the position.
  • Although the law applies to public employers, including state contractors, it provides for an exception for contractors that are subject to conflicting state or federal laws. For example, a child-care facility that contracts with the state isn’t subject to the law because it’s obligated by other state laws to comply with certain background-screening requirements.

Molly DiBianca is an attorney with Young Conaway Stargatt & Taylor, LLP, in Wilmington, Delaware. She can be reached at

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