New Law Prohibits Employers From Making Initial Inquiries About A Job Applicant’s Criminal Record

Title:
New Law Prohibits Employers From Making Initial Inquiries About A Job Applicant’s Criminal Record
Publication:
Labor & Employment Alert August 2014
Attorneys:
Practice:

Attention Employers: New Law Prohibits Employers From Making Initial Inquiries About A Job Applicant's Criminal Record.

On August 11, 2014, Governor Chris Christie signed “The Opportunity to Compete Act” into law.  This so-called "ban-the-box" law, which takes effect March 1, 2015, and applies only to those employers who employ 15 or more individuals, makes New Jersey the thirteenth state to prohibit employers from asking applicants about criminal convictions on initial employment applications. However, New Jersey is only the fifth state to impose this limitation on private employers.

Although there are limited exceptions (e.g., jobs in law enforcement, corrections, the judiciary, homeland security, or emergency management; jobs that require a criminal background check by law; an employer is “restricted from specified business activities” based on the criminal records of its employees; or for employers who are engaged in hiring people convicted of crimes), the new law:

To ensure compliance with the new law and the EEOC’s 2012 Enforcement Guidance on the Consideration of Arrest and Conviction Records in Employment Decisions Under Title VII of the Civil Rights Act of 1964, employers should review application forms and processes as well as criminal background check procedures.  If you have any questions about how these changes in the law may affect your business, please contact Riker Danzig's Labor & Employment Group.