Assembly Advances “Ban the Box” Bill

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On June 26, 2014, the New Jersey Assembly passed the “Opportunity to Compete Act.”  The Legislature is joining a national trend to create “ban the box” legislation that would eliminate the check box on job applications asking whether the applicant has been convicted of a crime.

The bill would prohibit certain employers from inquiring as to an applicant’s criminal record during the “initial application process.”  Therefore, an employer would only be permitted to ask, either orally or in writing, about the applicant’s criminal background after the initial interview with the applicant.  Failure to comply with the legislation’s mandates would result in civil penalties.

Both Houses have now passed the bill, which is pending Governor Christie’s review and signature.  Connell Foley’s labor and employment law attorneys will continue to track this pending legislation.