September 18, 2020

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New Minnesota Expungement Law Helps Protect Employers from Liability

A new Minnesota law that took effect on January 1 expands the opportunities for ex-offenders to expunge their criminal records.  In an effort to protect employers who hire employees with expunged records, the new law provides that such records “may not be introduced as evidence in a civil litigation against a private employer . . . that is based on the conduct of the employee” (such as in a negligent hiring suit).  Alabama recently included a similar provision in the state’s expungement law (as we blogged about in August), and a growing number of jurisdictions have passed broader laws to protect employers from negligent hiring and retentions suits when hiring ex-offenders (see our write-ups on the Georgia,  and Tennessee laws).

The new law comes into effect exactly one year after Minnesota’s “ban the box” law took effect to prohibit private employers from inquiring into an applicant’s criminal record on the initial job application.  Minnesota’s “ban the box” law similarly provides that information regarding an employee’s criminal record “may not be introduced as evidence in a civil action against a private employer” where “the action is based solely upon the employer’s compliance” with the law.

© 2020 Proskauer Rose LLP. National Law Review, Volume V, Number 6


About this Author

Katharine H Parker, Labor Employment Attorney, Proskauer Rose Law Firm

Katharine Parker is a Partner in the Labor & Employment Law Department and co-head of the Employment Law Counseling & Training and Government Regulatory Compliance and Relations Groups.

Daniel L Saperstein, Proskauer Law Firm, Labor Employment Attorney

Daniel L. Saperstein is an Associate in the Labor & Employment Law Department, resident in the Newark office. He is a member of the Employment Litigation & Arbitration, Labor-Management Relations, Employment Law Counseling & Training, International Labor & Employment, and Whistleblower & Retaliation Groups, as well as the Dodd-Frank Task Force.