In line with recent action at the federal, state and local level – including in Newark and Atlantic City as we previously wrote here – yesterday legislation was introduced in the New Jersey Senate which would limit New Jersey employers’ ability to inquire into job applicants’ criminal history. The bill would prohibit employers from inquiring about a candidate’s criminal past until after the applicant is found otherwise qualified and a conditional offer of employment has been made.
The bill would also allow applications to appeal employment denial decisions, and provide additional information to the employer such as evidence of rehabilitation. If the bill passes, New Jersey would join six other states and the District of Columbia which have passed laws limiting criminal background inquiries during the hiring process.
We will continue to monitor the legislation. In the meantime, New Jersey employers should review current hiring practices, particularly with respect to criminal background checks, and work with counsel to determine how the proposed legislation could impact hiring decisions.
If you have any questions or for further information on the bill and about implementing lawful pre-hire processes, please contact James J. McGovern, III Esq., firstname.lastname@example.org or Douglas J. Klein, Esq., email@example.com, in the Labor Law Practice Group.