CLIENT UPDATE

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July 18, 2016

Connecticut Becomes the Ninth State to “Ban the Box” on Employment Applications

On June 1, 2016, Connecticut Governor Dannel Malloy signed Public Act No. 16-83, “An Act Concerning Fair Chance Employment” (the “Act”), which prohibits most employers from requesting criminal history information on an initial employment application. The Act, which covers any employer engaged in business in Connecticut that has one or more employees, goes into effect on January 1, 2017.

Under the Act, employers may not require a job applicant to complete an initial employment application containing any question related to the applicant’s prior arrests, criminal charges, or convictions. Unlike other ban-the-box legislation that prohibits inquiries into an applicant’s criminal history until after a conditional offer is made (such as New York City’s), the Act merely restricts inquiries “on an initial employment application.” The Act does not define “initial employment application” but the Connecticut Department of Labor appears to interpret the term literally to mean the employment application itself.

The Act does not apply when: (1) an employer is obligated pursuant to a federal or state law to ask about criminal history for the position in question; and (2) a position requires a security, fidelity, or equivalent bond. Furthermore, the Act does not impact several still-enforced State prohibitions on employers: (1) rejecting applicants or terminating employees because of criminal records subject to erasure under state law; and (2) rejecting applicants or terminating employees because of a prior conviction for which the individual has received a provisional pardon or certificate of rehabilitation.

Takeaway for Employers

Employers should revise job applications used in Connecticut to remove questions concerning an applicant’s prior arrests, criminal charges, or criminal convictions.

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If you have any questions regarding the Act, please do not hesitate to contact us.