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Criminal History and Hiring Decisions

November 7th, 2017
Criminal History and Hiring Decisions

Your employees are the backbone of your business, and the strength of your team is elemental to the success of your company. Finding the right employees, as every employer knows, is one of the most complicated aspects of running a business. The issue of using job applicants’ criminal histories in making hiring decisions has been receiving considerable attention, and it’s an issue that’s important for employers to consider.

Ban the Box

Employers are often hesitant to hire new employees who have criminal records, but many legal jurisdictions restrict the use of criminal history as an employment factor. While New York has the most restrictive employment laws as they relate to this issue, other jurisdictions like New Jersey are following suit. Laws that limit the degree to which criminal history can be a consideration in making employment decisions are often called Ban the Box (BTB) laws. In New Jersey, such laws prohibit employers from enquiring about applicants’ criminal histories in the early stages of the job-application process. The box in Ban the Box refers to the checkbox on many application forms that enquire about applicants’ conviction records.

Checking the Box

If an applicant checks the box, it can be an automatic deal breaker for many employers. For job seekers with criminal records, it can be exceedingly difficult to find a job – even if their convictions do not relate to and would have no impact on the jobs in question. Further, a New Jersey statute expressly states that securing employment significantly reduces the risk of recidivism for persons with criminal records.

New Jersey Law

New Jersey’s Opportunity to Compete Act (OCA) specifically prohibits employers’ inquiries regarding criminal history at the initial stages of the employment application process. Additionally, the Act prohibits job advertisements that incorporate restrictions regarding criminal histories. New Jersey, however, does not restrict employers from incorporating criminal histories into later steps in the employment process. To move New Jersey forward in its Ban the Box efforts, Governor Christie has recently introduced legislature that could help expedite some expungements, increase the number of expungements allowed, decrease the waiting period to expunge an entire juvenile criminal record, and prohibit employers from discriminating against job applicants with expunged criminal records.

If You Have Questions about Ban the Box Rules, Call 732 238-8686 for More Information Today

Running a business is a complex undertaking, and remaining compliant with evolving employment laws can become daunting. If you have Ban the Box questions or any employment issues, allow Bowne Barry & Barry Attorneys at Law to knowledgeably guide you. Remaining compliant with jurisdictional ban the box statutes can be tricky, but we’re here to help. Our skilled business attorneys have the experience, dedication, and knowledge to help you help your business. For effective legal guidance, please contact or call the law office of Bowne Barry & Barry at 732 238-8686 today.