New Jersey Opportunity to Compete Act

New Jersey’s Opportunity to Compete Act

Over the past few months, the ExactHire team has shared information with you through our blogs on the “Ban the Box” movement and the legislative changes that have been implemented.  Illinois, Rhode Island, Minnesota, Massachusetts, and Hawaii are states that have enacted legislation in both the public and private sectors relating to when a background check can be incorporated into the applicant review process.  The “Ban the Box” movement is running full speed ahead, and New Jersey is the newest state to pass legislation to “ban the box” on both public and private sector employment applications.

On August 11, 2014, New Jersey Governor Chris Christie signed New Jersey’s “The Opportunity to Compete Act” which requires public and private employers to remove any questions related to the applicant’s criminal history (AKA “ban the box”) from employment applications beginning March 1, 2015.  This legislation does not mean that employers cannot conduct background checks on applicants; however, background checks must come later in the hiring process and/or when a job offer is extended unless the company/position meets certain exceptions outlined in the legislation.

To keep abreast of States and Cities who enact “Ban the Box” legislation, the National Employment Law Project (NELP) has an interactive map that provides an overview of the current legislative status.  An overview of the legislation for the locations with “Ban the Box” legislation can be found here.  For the actual legislation, you will need to go directly to the state or city government website to access the passed law(s) in its comprehensive language.

Employers need to be aware of the legislation that exists and which 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.  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 can 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’re an existing client looking for more information about updating your current employment application(s) and/or creating additional employment applications, please email

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 New Jersey’s “The Opportunity to Compete Act” affects your organization’s hiring practices, please contact your company’s legal team.

If you are not yet an ExactHire client, for more information about HireCentric ATS, please visit our resources page or contact us today.

Image credit: Jersey City Skyline at Sunset (Explore) by geezaweezer (contact)

Comments are closed.