Under a new law effective March 1, 2015, employers with 15 or more employees (including job placement and referral agencies and other employment agencies) are generally prohibited from:
•Requiring an applicant for employment to complete any employment application that makes any inquiries regarding his or her criminal record during the initial employment application process; and
•Making any oral or written inquiry regarding an applicant’s criminal record during the initial employment application process.
The “initial employment application process” begins when an applicant first makes an inquiry about a prospective employment position or job vacancy or when an employer first makes any inquiry to an applicant about a prospective employment position or job vacancy, and ends when an employer has conducted a first interview (whether in person or by any other means).
Exceptions and Scope of the Law
The law makes certain exceptions from these requirements, including:
•Certain law enforcement positions;
•Where the employment sought or being considered is for a position where a criminal history record background check is required by law, rule, or regulation; or
•Where an arrest or conviction would or may disqualify the person from holding such employment as required by any law, rule, or regulation.
The law does not prohibit an employer from, among other things:
•Requiring an applicant to complete an employment application that makes any inquiries regarding his or her criminal record after the initial employment application process has concluded; or
•Making any oral or written inquiries regarding his or her criminal record after the initial employment application process has concluded.
The law is scheduled to take effect March 1, 2015 (the Commissioner of Labor and Workforce Development may take anticipatory administrative action in advance as will be necessary for the implementation of the law).
For more information on other state laws specific to New Jersey, contact our HR department at 800-654-4234 ext. 180.