Connecticut Fair Chance Employment Law Effective January 1, 2017
Effective Jan. 1, 2017, Connecticut employers may no longer inquire about an applicant’s criminal history on initial employment applications. In May 2016, the Connecticut Legislature passed H.B.5237, An Act Concerning Fair Chance Employment, which was signed into law as Public Act 16-83 on June 1,2016. The act prohibits an employer from inquiring about a prospective employee’s prior arrests, criminal charges or convictions on an initial employment application, unless the employer is required to do so by state or federal law. If an application is permitted to include the question and does so, it must state in clear and conspicuous language that the applicant is not required to divulge any conviction or arrest that has been erased or sealed pursuant to several state laws.
In addition to the state’s policy, several cities in Connecticut, including Hartford, have enacted local ordinances further restricting what employers may ask regarding a criminal record. For more information, please visit your local municipality’s website to determine if they have adopted a “Ban the Box” ordinance.
As a best practice, employers should require applicants to submit a resume in response to job postings and base the first-round interview on the qualifications in the resumes. Employers may then ask applicants at the first interview to fill out the employment application, which can include the “box.”
The important thing to keep in mind is that this statute does not prevent an employer from asking about a criminal background. It merely restricts when an employer may ask.