Some employers use criminal background checks as a matter of course before hiring people, regardless of whether the nature of an applicant's criminal past had anything to do with the job they would be doing. As we've discussed before, however, the broad, blind use of criminal background checks may result in a disparate impact against minority applicants, because minorities are disproportionately likely to have criminal records, even when their behavior is no different from their white peers.
A highly-negative series in the Star Tribune has put the Minnesota Board of Nursing on edge. As we discussed early last month, the Star Tribune series uncovered a few hundred cases in which nurses were still working despite misdemeanor records that may disqualify them from direct patient care, and a few accused of serious misconduct.
A recent investigative series in the Star Tribune has shaken up the Minnesota Board of Nursing and nurses around the state. The investigation discovered some 294 licensed nursing professionals who were listed in the Minnesota Court Information System, or MNCIS, as having misdemeanor convictions that apparently disqualify them from licensure. That investigation prompted a joint hearing before the Minnesota House and Senate health and human services committees, scheduled for Nov. 13.
In May, Governor Dayton signed into law a bill that extends Minnesota’s “Ban the Box” law to private employers. “Ban the Box” was first passed in 2009 but only applied to public employers, but it will now require private employers to eliminate check-boxes about criminal convictions from job applications by the end of the year.