The Iowa Supreme Court has dismissed part of a Waterloo ordinance involving the use of the criminal history of job applicants.

The court ruled the city cannot ban employers from making hiring decisions solely on an applicant’s criminal history because it forbids the use of the information even if the employer might have valid business reasons for asking about criminal history.

The court did say the section of the ordinance that prohibits asking about criminal history until a job is offered can stand. The Iowa Association of Business and Industry sued the city after the so-called “Ban the Box” ordinance passed in 2019. Waterloo leaders said the ordinance would address racial disparities in hiring practices.

Here is the ruling: Waterloo Ban the Box Ruling PDF