OLR Bill Analysis
AN ACT CONCERNING CRIMINAL RECORDS AND EMPLOYMENT APPLICATIONS.
This bill expands current restrictions on what an employer and its agents, representatives, or designees (i.e., employers) can require an employee or job applicant to disclose about his or her criminal history. It prohibits employers from requiring a job applicant in the initial stage of the hiring process to (1) complete a job application with any questions about the applicant's criminal history or (2) disclose any arrest, criminal charge, or conviction that (a) has records that have not been erased or (b) was for a nonviolent misdemeanor that occurred in the past five years. The employer can take these actions once it determines that the applicant is otherwise qualified for the position.
The bill also provides protections for employees and applicants who have an arrest, criminal charge, or conviction for a nonviolent misdemeanor more than five years old. It prohibits employers, at any time, from:
1. requiring an employee or job applicant to disclose such a history,
2. denying an applicant employment based solely on such a history, or
3. discharging or discriminating against an employee based solely on such a history.
Additionally, the bill requires job applications to contain a statement that an applicant is not required to disclose any arrest, criminal charge, or conviction for a nonviolent misdemeanor more than five years old.
The bill subjects violators of its provisions to a $300 civil penalty imposed by the Department of Labor (DOL) and allows a person aggrieved by a violation of its prohibitions to bring a civil action in Superior Court for damages, costs, and attorney's fees. It also allows a person to bring a civil action if he or she is aggrieved by a violation of existing law on employment-related criminal record checks. Under existing law such violations are subject to a DOL $300 civil penalty.
EFFECTIVE DATE: October 1, 2015
CIVIL ACTIONS FOR EMPLOYMENT-RELATED CRIMINAL RECORDS CHECKS
The bill allows people aggrieved by a violation of its prohibitions, or related violations of existing law, to bring a civil action in Superior Court for damages, costs, and attorney's fees. Existing law protects employees and applicants who have (1) an arrest, criminal charge, or conviction with records that have been erased under certain conditions or (2) a prior conviction for which the employee or applicant received a provisional pardon or certificate of rehabilitation. The law requires employers to include a notice on job applications that states that an applicant is not required to disclose these matters and prohibits employers from:
1. requiring an employee or job applicant to disclose these matters,
2. denying employment to an applicant based solely on these matters, or
3. discharging or discriminating against an employee based solely on these matters.
The bill allows employees and applicants aggrieved by a violation of these existing requirements and prohibitions to bring a civil action. It also allows a civil action for the following violations of existing law:
1. failing to comply with requirements related to the confidentiality of a job application's criminal history section, and
2. for a consumer reporting agency doing a background check, failing to (a) notify the subject employee or applicant that it is reporting criminal matters of public record, (b) provide the subject employee or applicant with the name and address of the person to whom the background check is being provided, and (c) maintain procedures designed to ensure that its reporting on criminal records is complete and up-to-date as required by law.
Labor and Public Employees Committee