Kansas City ‘Bans the Box’ for All Employers

By: Anne E. Baggott

Joining numerous other U.S. cities, Kansas City, Missouri, has banned employers from asking applicants to disclose criminal histories in an initial application.  The ordinance goes further to limit the employer’s substantive hiring decisions.

Under the new ordinance, effective June 9, 2018, an employer within the corporate limits of Kansas City with six or more employees may not ask the applicant about criminal arrests or convictions until after the applicant has been interviewed for the position and is in the final selection pool of candidates.  The employer may – and should – ask all final candidates their criminal history only at that point in the selection process. The Kansas City ordinance goes further than just “banning the box.”  It also bars the employer from refusing to hire the candidate because of the criminal history, unless the employer can demonstrate the decision was reasonably related to the duties and responsibilities of the position given “all information available.” The employer will have the burden to defend its decision.  Employers that are required to exclude applicants with criminal convictions due to a separate local, state, or federal law may continue to ask applicants criminal history in the application.

The ordinance may require significant changes for some employers in Kansas City.  Employers should take immediate steps to comply with the new ordinance by doing the following:

  • Revise hiring processes and procedures, including applications, interview guidelines, and the sequence of obtaining criminal history.
  • Implement or revise document retention policies to ensure interview notes for each applicant and the final candidate selection pool are properly maintained.
  • Ensure each position has a clear job description detailing its duties and responsibilities, such that the employer can tie a criminal-history-related decision to those duties.
  • Create and maintain clear and legally defensible documentation of all non-hiring decisions due to a candidate’s criminal history.

For more information, contact Anne Baggott at 816-931-2700 or



700 W. 47 Street, Suite 410
Kansas City, MO 64112

Phone: 816.931.2700
Fax: 816.931.7377


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