PA 10-142—sHB 5207 (VETOED; OVERRIDDEN)

Labor and Public Employees Committee

Government Administration and Elections Committee

AN ACT CONCERNING CRIMINAL BACKGROUND CHECKS FOR PROSPECTIVE STATE EMPLOYEES

SUMMARY: This act prohibits certain state employers from asking about a prospective employee's past convictions until the person is deemed otherwise qualified for the position. The prohibition does not apply if a statute specifically disqualifies someone from a position due to a prior conviction.

The applicable employers are the state; the executive and judicial branches, including any of their boards, departments, commissions, institutions, agencies, or units; boards of trustees of state-owned or -supported colleges, universities, or their branches; public and quasi-public state corporations; authorities established by law; and anyone designated by such employers to act in their interest with employees. The act does not cover the state Board of Labor Relations, Board of Mediation and Arbitration, or, apparently, the Legislative Branch. This means these employers may ask a prospective employee about prior convictions. However, the law, unchanged by the act, prohibits these and other state agencies from denying a person employment solely because of a prior conviction.

EFFECTIVE DATE: October 1, 2010

BACKGROUND

Denying State Employment or Credential Based on Prior Convictions

With two exceptions, the law prohibits the state and its agencies from disqualifying a person from state employment or denying, suspending, or revoking a credential (such as a professional, trade, or business license) solely because of a prior conviction. The exceptions are for law enforcement agencies and licensing mortgage lenders, correspondent lenders, and brokers. Instead, prior to finding that someone is unsuitable for a position or credential based on a prior conviction, the relevant agency must consider the nature of the crime, its relation to the job, the person's rehabilitation, and how much time has passed since the conviction or release.

An agency must consider these factors regardless of other law and even one that purports to govern denying credentials due to lack of good moral character or suspending or revoking a credential due to a conviction.

OLR Tracking: CR: KM: VR: ts