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Two more states pass “Ban the Box” laws that will affect private employers

Beginning in 2017, Connecticut and Vermont will require employers to refrain from inquiring about applicants’ criminal histories on initial job applications.

Connecticut law

Public Act No. 16-83, which will take effect on Jan. 1, 2017, will prohibit employers in the state of Connecticut from inquiring 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.”

The law does not provide information as to when employers can conduct inquiries into applicants’ criminal records. The full text of the law can be found here.

 

Vermont law

After signing an executive order in 2015 to “Ban the Box” for public jobs with the state, Gov. Peter Shumlin signed bill H.261 which will expand the hiring policy to include private employers in the state. Under the law, employers are prohibited from requesting “criminal history record information” on an initial application form. “Criminal history record information” includes arrests, convictions or sentences. Exempt from the law are positions in which any federal or state law or regulation creates a mandatory or presumptive disqualification based on certain types of offenses, as well as employers who are obligated by a state or federal law to employ an individual convicted of a certain offense.

Employers will be permitted to inquire into applicants’ criminal history during a job interview or once an applicant has been “deemed otherwise qualified for the position.”

Additionally, the law includes a pre-adverse action notification requirement similar to the Fair Credit Reporting Act (FCRA), stating that if an employer is considering taking an adverse employment action based on a criminal record, it must afford the applicant “an opportunity to explain the information and circumstances regarding any convictions, including post-conviction rehabilitation.”

The law goes into effect on July 1, 2017. The full text of the law can be found here.

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