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On September 28, 2012, Ohio Senate Bill 337 went into effect. The new law is also known as the “Collateral Sanctions” bill and removes some job search restrictions for ex-offenders.

While this law does not directly impact Corporate Screening’s turnaround time, it does affect the FBI and Ohio BCI process and has adversely impacted their fingerprinting turnaround times. The minimum fingerprint turnaround time for anyone who has had an arrest is currently 45 days.

A quick summary of additional aspects of the law include the following:

  • It expands on what type and how many records can be sealed.
  • The law states that ex-offenders may now apply for occupational licensing that previously they were not qualified for due to their convictions, and they may qualify if their conviction is unrelated to the profession they are trying applying to work in.
  • It gives the person with a conviction the ability to petition the court and ask for a Certification of Qualification for Employment. This certificate doesn’t require an employer to hire the person, but it will lower the employer’s exposure to negligent hiring lawsuits if they opt to hire a person who is in possession of this certificate.

Additional details and highlights of the law are summarized below.

Individuals will be able to apply to seal one felony and one misdemeanor, or two misdemeanors. Prior to the passage of this bill, only one misdemeanor could be sealed and no felonies.
— Each request to seal a criminal record is subject to judicial review and approval. Violent and sex crimes will not be eligible to be sealed.

Ex-offenders can apply for a “Certificate of Qualification for Employment.”
— Awarding of the certificate could remove employment barriers and restrictions.
— Protects employers who hire individuals with a Certification of Qualification for Employment from negligent hiring and retention lawsuits.

Employers may still be held liable in a civil action if a person with hiring and firing authority is made aware that the employee has demonstrated dangerous actions or been convicted of a felony after being hired and willfully kept the individual as an employee.
— Individuals convicted of a felony may apply for the certificate one year after release from incarceration and all periods of post-release supervision.
— Individuals convicted of a Misdemeanor may apply for the certificate six months after the end of incarceration, supervision, or other sanctions imposed for the misdemeanor.
— The application goes through an intensive review prior to being granted.

Remove barriers for occupational licensing.
— Ex-offenders may be able to apply for occupational licensing that prior to the passage of the bill they were not qualified for due to their convictions.
— Ex-offenders may qualify for state licenses if their convictions are unrelated to the profession they are trying to obtain a license in.
— The granting or restoration of a professional license will be reviewed on a case-by-case basis.

Please note, the finer points on how ex-offenders can apply for and be granted a Certificate of Qualification for Employment are still being worked out, and the first certificates are not expected to be granted until 2013. Corporate Screening will continue to monitor the effects of this new law and will keep you apprised of developments as the law is implemented.

To read Ohio Senate Bill 337, click here.

While this situation is out of our hands, we regret any inconvenience this may cause you. Corporate Screening will continue to monitor the situation and notify you of any changes.