If you have a CORI, there are things you should know when you apply for jobs.

What is Ban the Box?

Can an employer have a rule against hiring people with criminal records?

Who can see my CORI, and how much do they get to see?

When I apply for a job in Massachusetts, what are employers allowed to ask me about my criminal record?

Are there things an employer is not allowed to ask me about?

Can anyone help me find a job?

What does it mean to get a criminal record sealed? Can I get my record sealed?

I cannot seal my record for many years. What can I do now?

What is Ban the Box?

“Ban the box” was passed to stop employers from rejecting people for jobs without even bothering to meet them or really look over the job application. Before the new law was passed, people applying for jobs had to check off a box on job applications if they had a criminal record.

Ban the box makes it illegal for most employers to ask you if you have a criminal record on a job application. Only a few employers can ask you about convictions if a state or federal law makes or lets them ask you about your records at this stage.

For more information about Ban the Box read the Massachusetts Commission Against Discrimination factsheet Criminal Offender Record Information Administrative Procedure Reforms.

You can report violations of the law to MCAD (617) 994-6000.

Can an employer have a rule against hiring people with criminal records?

No. This kind of hiring rule is almost always illegal. The United States Equal Employment Opportunity Commission (EEOC) has said that automatically rejecting people with criminal records for jobs is a form of race discrimination. It violates civil rights laws.1 The only employers allowed to have this kind of rule must prove they need the rule to do business. For more information, see the EEOC’s policy guidance on this topic.


1 An employer who refuses to hire any workers with criminal records violates Title VII of the Civil Rights Act of 1964 unless the employer can show it is necessary to do so to run the business. This is because using criminal records to not hire people has a “disparate impact” – it hurts mostly people who belong to minority groups.

Produced by Greater Boston Legal Services
Last Updated March 2013