New Jersey Latest State to Ban the Box in Employment Applications

By Eric B. Meyer

Come Jan. 1, 2015, most New Jersey employers will no longer be able to ask about an applicant’s criminal record during the initial employment application process.

That’s right.

Ban the box will be b-b-b-b-banned in the Garden State!

Hold off on those criminal history inquiries

I teased it back in June, when I reported that a New Jersey Senate Committee recommended passage of ban-the-box legislation in the Garden State.

On Monday, Gov. Chris Christie signed the The Opportunity to Compete Act, also known as Ban the Box. When the new year rolls around, companies with 15 or more employees will be forbidden from advertising that people with criminal records cannot apply for job opening.

Covered companies also cannot inquire about criminal history, from the time an applicant inquires about an opening, until the first job interview is completed.

After that, you can be as nasty as you want to be criminal history is fair game.

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$1,000 fine for first time violations

Covered employers that violate the law will be fined $1000 for a first violation, $5000 for a second violation, and $10,000 for each one after that. But, aggrieved individuals do not have the right to sue.

How can employers prepare for Ban the Box?

If you haven’t already done so (hint, hint), now would be a good time to starting changing your employment applications. Also, be sure to remind anyone who has their hands in hiring, up to the initial interview process, not to inquire about criminal history.

This was originally published on Eric B. Meyer’s blog, The Employer Handbook.

You know that scientist in the action movie who has all the right answers if only the government would just pay attention? Eric B. Meyer, Esq. gets companies HR-compliant before the action sequence. Serving clients nationwide, Eric is a Partner at FisherBroyles, LLP, which is the largest full-service, cloud-based law firm in the world, with approximately 210 attorneys in 21 offices nationwide. Eric is also a volunteer EEOC mediator, a paid private mediator, and publisher of The Employer Handbook (www.TheEmployerHandbook.com), which is pretty much the best employment law blog ever. That, and he's been quoted in the British tabloids. #Bucketlist.

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