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As predicted, “Ban the box” legislation continues to grow. Governors in Vermont and Connecticut recently signed bills that remove questions about criminal records from initial job applications in their respective states. Both will become law in 2017, and employers doing business in these states should familiarize themselves with the legislation, review their hiring policies and procedures, and make any necessary changes.

 

Vermont

In May, Vermont governor Peter Shumlin signed a bill that requires employers (including private employers) in Vermont to remove questions about criminal records from their initial job applications. Specifically, employers cannot inquire into the criminal history until the interview, or once the prospective employee has been deemed otherwise qualified for the position.

The law follows an executive order signed in 2015 that implemented the policy for state jobs. It will go into effect in July 2017. Full details about the bill can be accessed at: http://legislature.vermont.gov/assets/Documents/2016/Docs/ACTS/ACT081/ACT081%20As%20Enacted.pdf

 

Connecticut

On June 1, 2016 Connecticut’s governor Dannel Malloy signed a new “ban the box” law that prohibits most employers about asking about criminal history on the initial job application. The law includes private employers with one or more employees, and goes into effect on January 1, 2017.

There are two exceptions to the new legislation, which states: “No employer shall inquire about a prospective employee’s prior arrests, criminal charges or convictions on an initial employment application, unless (1) the employer is required to do so by an applicable state or federal law, or (2) a security or fidelity bond or an equivalent bond is required for the position for which the prospective employee is seeking employment.”

If an exception noted above applies, employers are required to include the following notices with the criminal history inquiries – clearly and conspicuously on the application (Littler Insight):

  • The applicant is not required to disclose the existence of any arrest, criminal charge, or conviction the records of which have been erased pursuant to sections 46b-146, 54-76o or 54-142a of the Connecticut General Statutes;
  • Criminal records subject to erasure under state law are those records pertaining to a finding of delinquency or that a child was a member of a family with service needs, an adjudication as a youthful offender, a criminal charge that has been dismissed or dropped, a criminal charge for which the person has been found not guilty or a conviction for which the person received an absolute pardon; and
  • Any person whose criminal records have been erased shall be deemed to have never been arrested and may so swear under oath.

The law also established a “Fair Chance Employment Task Force” that will study issues and make recommendations on these issues.

If you have questions about the new legislation in these states, or would like more information about “ban the box” laws and regulations, please contact your Corporate Screening account representative.