New Jersey Governor Expands Ban-The-Box Law for Criminal Records

Ban-The-Box Criminal Records Law Expanded In New Jersey

If you are currently a New Jersey employee, you had to go through an application process before you were hired. Each state has requirements relating to what should or should not be allowed to be asked on an employment application. New Jersey Governor Chris Christie signed into law “The Opportunity to Compete Act,” which is also referred to as the “ban the box” law. This law, which was initially effective in 2015, restricted employers from inquiring criminal history information during certain parts of the hiring process. Recently, there have been additions to this law that have specified even further what is or is not permitted.

What Were the Key Provisions Of The Original Law?

The original law prohibited employers from questioning about an applicant’s criminal history until the initial application process was complete. This meant that after the applicant’s first interview, employers were permitted to ask any questions they wanted in relation to criminal history and records. Employers can refuse to hire someone based on the criminal history uncovered during the process, unless that history has been expunged and pardoned.

What Are the New Expansions?

The new additions to the New Jersey ban the box law provides more details to what is actually permitted on the employment application. Effective at the end of 2017, the law (Senate Bill 3306) restricts employers from two main things. The first is that employers are prohibited from requiring their applicants to complete an application that asks about that individual’s expunged criminal history. The second is that employers are not allowed to ask any questions (written or oral) about an applicant’s expunged criminal records. The two new expansions to this law are crucial because they elaborate further on the extent to which employers are prohibited to ask about criminal records, even ones that have been pardoned. There are sneaky ways to get around this law, so Senate Bill 3306 helps fill in those legal gaps.

If you are an employer that has been accused of improperly inquiring your applicants’ criminal history, our criminal law attorneys at Gelman law can help settle your case. Contact us online or call for an initial consultation.