Understanding Colorado’s “Ban-the-Box” Law

by CGraves

Colorado,  Discrimination,  Hot Topics,  Legislation

Among the bills currently awaiting Gov. Polis’s signature is “Concerning the Timing of an Inquiry into a Job Applicant’s Criminal History, and, in Connection Therewith, Making an Appropriation,” better known as “Ban the Box.”

Scheduled to take effect on August 2, 2019, Colorado will join more than a dozen states and more than 20 municipalities that have adopted some form of this measure to prevent employers from dismissing job applicants out of hand as a result of past criminal history.

The new law will prevent employers from:

  1. Stating in an advertisement for an open position that a person with a criminal history may not apply for the position;
  2. Stating on applications in any form that a person with a criminal history may not apply for the position; or
  3. Inquiring into (or requiring disclosure of) an applicant’s criminal history on an initial written or electronic application form.


The law will not apply to state or local government, or quasi-governmental entities. It also contains exceptions. For example, when a law or regulation prohibits employing someone with a specific criminal history, the obligations regarding advertising are relaxed.

While the law takes effect in early August, employers will have no obligations until September 1, 2019. On that date, the law imposes the aforementioned restrictions on employers with 11 or more employees, and on September 1, 2021, it will apply to all Colorado employers not excepted as government entities.

For questions on this or any other law, or to access updated resources such as forms, contact Employers Council.

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