Out with the old and in with the new…New Year that is. 2017 is rapidly approaching and will bring many changes to us and our country. Personal resolutions for positive change and the inauguration of a new President are two “New Year 2017” life changing events that immediately pop into mind. For individuals with a conviction history who seek employment in Connecticut, January 1, 2017 is not just the beginning of another year; it offers new life changing opportunities for those individuals to fulfill their Connecticut employment goals through reduced barriers to employment with the passage of “Ban the Box” legislation.
What is Ban the Box?
Ban the Box AKA “Fair Chance Policy” aims to reduce recidivism rates and future incarcerations of prior offenders by helping remove potential barriers to employment. The policy will help individuals with criminal records “have a fair chance” to be actively considered for employment opportunities despite having blemished records when they are applying for jobs in their attempt to attain employment.
Ban the Box Connecticut Legislation
Connecticut became the newest state to join the Ban the Box movement when Governor Dannel Malloy signed H.B. No. 5237 (Public Act No. 16-83) which will become effective January 1, 2017. This act prohibits covered public and private sector employers from asking questions regarding arrests, criminal charges or convictions on an employment application. Connecticut employers can still ask about convictions, but conviction related questions must occur later at a designated point in the hiring process. Certain exemptions exist regarding this law so please consult your company’s legal team for more information on the exemptions and qualification criteria.
States Leading the Ban the Box Movement
Currently Hawaii, Massachusetts, Minnesota, Rhode Island, Illinois, New Jersey, and Oregon have statewide public and private sector policies implemented which prohibit employers from asking about applicants’ criminal histories. Vermont passed Ban the Box legislation on May 3, 2016; however, it does not become effective until July 1, 2017. Numerous cities and municipalities have localized Ban the Box legislation enacted that may affect certain types of employment in specific geographic regions. Ban the Box legislation is not just a trend as the list of local and state governments introducing versions of this type of legislation keeps increasing. To keep abreast of states and cities who enact Ban the Box legislation, visit the National Employment Law Project (NELP).
How This Affects Employers
Employers need to be aware of the legislation that exists and what legislation is pending to be prepared for the potential impact on their organizations. If your organization currently has hiring practices in multiple states and cities, or posts job listings nationally, it is important to be cognizant of the locales’ legal expectations and determine if you need to alter verbiage on your employment application(s) and/or change specific steps in your hiring practices to be compliant with Ban the Box legislation. Please note: The ExactHire team is not legal counsel, and we do not offer legal advice so any questions regarding your company’s eligibility for exemption with the Ban the Box legislation and/or proper verbiage for your company’s employment application(s) should be discussed with your company’s legal counsel. To learn specifically how Connecticut’s H.B. No. 5237 (Public Act No. 16-83) affects your organization’s hiring practices, please contact your company’s legal team.
At ExactHire, we take pride in doing our best to ensure our clients’ satisfaction is the highest possible. We do whatever we can to resolve clients’ current needs and identify potential needs. After you speak with your legal counsel, and if you and your legal team decide changes need to be made to your employment application(s) to comply with legislation, the ExactHire team will work with you to create a new application with the verbiage you specify for compliance. Also, please know that one of the benefits of using ExactHire’s HireCentric software as your applicant tracking system is that you can create multiple employment applications, each specific to your needs. If you are an existing client looking for more information about updating your current employment application(s) and/or creating additional employment applications, please email firstname.lastname@example.org, and let us know your needs.