All Austin employers who have 15 or more employees who work in Austin are covered by Austin’s new ban-the-box ordinance. If you are covered, then you can’t ask about an applicant’s criminal history in an application.
For more details about this law, see this summary of the ordinance by Austin employment lawyers Hutcheson Bowers.
Note that employers are allowed to ask about criminal histories after a conditional offer of employment is extended.
The timing of background checks on applicants is also affected by this ordinance. Now, employers must wait until after the conditional offer is extended before they conduct a background check.
When hiring attorneys, a disciplinary proceeding with the State Bar will often proceed a criminal prosecution, so employers have long relied on the State Bar reporting system for disciplinary proceedings when doing their due diligence on lawyers. This is still legal and allowed with the ban-the-box box ordinance because disciplinary proceedings are not criminal in nature.