Iowa expunged records law takes effect January 1

December 03, 2015 0 COMMENTS

by Tara Z. Hall

While not a true “ban the box” measure, a new Iowa law taking effect January 1 will allow exonerated individuals to keep past criminal charges from becoming known to potential employers.

The measure, signed into law last spring, sets up a process for individuals who have been wrongfully accused of a crime and have “not guilty” verdicts and dismissed criminal charges against them to have the records expunged and erased. Senate File 385 was initiated by individuals who were wrongfully accused of crimes and were concerned that the accusations would negatively affect their employment opportunities.

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New executive order expands ‘ban the box’ trend

November 03, 2015 0 COMMENTS

President Barack Obama’s plan to issue a “ban the box” Executive Order may not directly affect nonfederal government employers, but it continues a movement in both the public and private sectors against considering criminal history early in the hiring process. A White House fact sheet issued November 2, the same day Obama traveled to New Jersey to outline plans to help the formerly incarcerated, explains that the president is directing the federal Office of Personnel Management “to take action where it can by modifying its rules to delay inquiries into criminal history until later in the hiring process.”  Hand with pen and check boxes isolated on white background

The fact sheet says most federal agencies already have taken that step. It also notes that many states and cities have passed laws requiring employers to remove the job application section that asks if prospective employees have a criminal record. The fact sheet also notes that many private companies have decided on their own to delay asking about criminal history until later in the hiring process to make sure job seekers aren’t unnecessarily screened out before having a chance to explain their circumstances.

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New laws affecting Illinois employers take effect January 1

December 12, 2014 0 COMMENTS

by Steven L. Brenneman

Illinois employers need to be aware of a few new laws taking effect January 1.

Ban the box

One of the new laws, the Job Opportunities for Qualified Applicants Act, prohibits most private-sector employers and employment agencies with 15 or more employees from asking applicants about their criminal histories and conducting criminal background checks until after they are deemed qualified for a job.

Under the law, employers may not inquire about, consider, or require disclosure of an applicant’s criminal record or criminal history until he has been deemed qualified for a position and has been notified that he has been selected for an interview. If there is no interview, the employer may not inquire into the applicant’s criminal record or criminal history until after making a conditional offer of employment.

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New Jersey joins states with ‘ban the box’ laws

August 13, 2014 0 COMMENTS

by Jeffrey A. Gruen

New Jersey Governor Chris Christie has signed the state’s “ban the box” legislation, meaning that most employers will be prohibited from asking applicants about their criminal histories until the conclusion of the first job interview.

The legislature passed the Opportunity to Compete Act in June, and Christie signed it on August 11. It will go into effect March 1, 2015. The law applies to New Jersey employers with 15 or more employees over 20 calendar weeks.

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San Francisco ‘ban the box’ ordinance starts August 13

August 11, 2014 0 COMMENTS

by Andrew J. Sommer and Alka Ramchandani

San Francisco’s new “ban the box” law, titled the Fair Chance Ordinance, will limit the timing and scope of inquiries into an applicant’s or employee’s criminal history when it takes effect August 13.

In addition to banning inquiries into criminal history on job applications, the ordinance also places significant restrictions on an employer’s ability to obtain and use that information in the hiring process.

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Illinois governor signs law prohibiting criminal history inquiries on job applications

July 22, 2014 1 COMMENTS

by Steven L. Brenneman

Fox, Swibel, Levin & Carroll, LLP

On July 21, Illinois Governor Pat Quinn signed into law the Job Opportunities for Qualified Applicants Act, which will prohibit most private-sector employers and employment agencies with 15 or more employees from asking applicants about their criminal histories and conducting criminal background checks until after applicants are deemed qualified for a job. The law will go into effect on January 1, 2015.

Under the law, employers may not inquire about, consider, or require disclosure of an applicant’s criminal record or criminal history until he has been deemed qualified for a position and has been notified that he has been selected for an interview. If there is no interview, the employer may not inquire into the applicant’s criminal record or criminal history until after making a conditional offer of employment.

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New Alabama law opens door to erase certain criminal convictions

June 19, 2014 0 COMMENTS

by Whitney Brown

A new Alabama law taking effect July 7 allows individuals to apply to have certain criminal proceedings expunged, meaning an applicant will be excused from disclosing the offense on employment applications.

Offenses must be misdemeanors or nonviolent felonies, and charges must have been dismissed, been “no-billed” by a grand jury, been dismissed following the offender’s completion of a deferred prosecution program, or yielded a “not guilty” verdict.

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Delaware governor signs ‘ban the box’ bill

May 09, 2014 0 COMMENTS

by Molly DiBianca

Delaware has joined the ranks of states adopting “ban the box” laws, measures that limit how employers can request criminal history information during the hiring process.

Delaware’s law, signed into law by Governor Jack Markell on May 8, makes criminal histories and credit scores off limits on applications for public-sector jobs. Here are key aspects of the law:

  • Public employers and state contractors are prohibited from inquiring into or considering the criminal record, criminal history, or credit history or score of an applicant before making a conditional offer of employment.
  • Employers may perform a background check once a conditional offer has been made, but they may consider felonies for only 10 years from the completion of the sentence and misdemeanors for five years from the completion of the sentence.
  • The law also requires employers to consider several factors when deciding whether to revoke a conditional offer of employment because of the results of a criminal background check. Those factors include the nature of the crime, rehabilitation, and the criminal activity’s relationship to the position.
  • Although the law applies to public employers, including state contractors, it provides for an exception for contractors that are subject to conflicting state or federal laws. For example, a child-care facility that contracts with the state isn’t subject to the law because it’s obligated by other state laws to comply with certain background-screening requirements.

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Baltimore council votes to ban the box

April 29, 2014 0 COMMENTS

by Kevin C. McCormick

Employers in Baltimore will face new restrictions in conducting criminal background checks now that the city council has passed a tough new “ban the box” law.

Bill 13-0301, titled “Ban the Box—Fair Criminal Records Screening Practices,” passed the Baltimore City Council on April 28 and was expected to gain Mayor Stephanie Rawlings-Blake’s signature. It is to go into effect 90 days after adoption.

Going far beyond the federal Equal Employment Opportunity Commission’s proposals on criminal background checks, Baltimore’s new law prohibits most employers from inquiring about applicants’ criminal background before making a conditional offer of employment. The bill’s sponsors claim the restrictions are needed to help Baltimore residents with criminal convictions obtain employment.

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EEOC, FTC team up to provide tips on background checks

March 11, 2014 3 COMMENTS

Employers and jobseekers alike are getting more direction on employer use of background checks with the release of two technical assistance documents from the Equal Employment Opportunity Commission (EEOC) and the Federal Trade Commission (FTC).

On March 10, the EEOC and the FTC copublished the documents, which are available on the agencies’ websites. The documents—Background Checks: What Employers Need to Know and Background Checks: What Job Applicants and Employees Should Know—explain how the agencies’ respective laws apply to background checks performed for employment purposes. The EEOC enforces employment discrimination laws, and the FTC enforces the Fair Credit Reporting Act (FCRA), which regulates how background checks are conducted and used.

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