Ban the Box and Criminal Histories of Prospective Employees

In Connecticut, when a prospective employee is applying for a job, many times the employer requires that the prospective employee fill out certain paperwork and answer certain questions about their background.  However, is the employer free to ask about anything in the employee’s past?  What about the employee’s criminal history?

As of January 1, 2017, Connecticut enacted the “Ban the Box” law which applies to any employer with one or more employees, including both the State of Connecticut and any political subdivisions.  Under the Ban the Box law, an employer is prohibited from requesting information from a prospective employee regarding any prior arrests, criminal charges or convictions as part of the initial employment application.  However, there are exceptions to this rule when the employer is obligated to request such information pursuant to a federal or state law, or when a position requires a security, fidelity, or equivalent bond. It is also important to note that this law does not prohibit the employer from requesting such information at a time other than in the initial employment application.

If a prospective employee believes that they have been subject to a violation of this law by a prospective employer, they may file a complaint with the Connecticut Labor Commissioner, but are not provided a private cause of action.

If you are an employee and believe that you have been subjected to a wrongful request for your past criminal history, or if you are an employer seeking guidance as to when and how to request such past criminal history information, please call the experienced employment counsel at Harlow, Adams & Friedman, P.C. today at 203-878-0661 for a free consultation.

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