Connecticut Seal

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House of Representatives

File No. 737

General Assembly

 

February Session, 2016

(Reprint of File Nos. 175 and 685)

Substitute House Bill No. 5237

 

As Amended by House Amendment

Schedule "A"

Approved by the Legislative Commissioner

April 27, 2016

AN ACT CONCERNING FAIR CHANCE EMPLOYMENT.

Be it enacted by the Senate and House of Representatives in General Assembly convened:

Section 1. Section 31-51i of the general statutes is repealed and the following is substituted in lieu thereof (Effective January 1, 2017):

(a) For the purposes of this section, "employer" means any person engaged in business who has one or more employees, including the state or any political subdivision of the state.

(b) No employer shall inquire about a prospective employee's prior arrests, criminal charges or convictions on an initial employment application, unless (1) the employer is required to do so by an applicable state or federal law, or (2) a security or fidelity bond or an equivalent bond is required for the position for which the prospective employee is seeking employment.

[(b)] (c) No employer or employer's agent, representative or designee may require an employee or prospective employee to disclose the existence of any arrest, criminal charge or conviction, the records of which have been erased pursuant to section 46b-146, 54-76o or 54-142a.

[(c)] (d) An employment application form that contains any question concerning the criminal history of the applicant shall contain a notice, in clear and conspicuous language: (1) That the applicant is not required to disclose the existence of any arrest, criminal charge or conviction, the records of which have been erased pursuant to section 46b-146, 54-76o or 54-142a, (2) that criminal records subject to erasure pursuant to section 46b-146, 54-76o or 54-142a are records pertaining to a finding of delinquency or that a child was a member of a family with service needs, an adjudication as a youthful offender, a criminal charge that has been dismissed or nolled, a criminal charge for which the person has been found not guilty or a conviction for which the person received an absolute pardon, and (3) that any person whose criminal records have been erased pursuant to section 46b-146, 54-76o or 54-142a shall be deemed to have never been arrested within the meaning of the general statutes with respect to the proceedings so erased and may so swear under oath.

[(d)] (e) No employer or employer's agent, representative or designee shall deny employment to a prospective employee solely on the basis that the prospective employee had a prior arrest, criminal charge or conviction, the records of which have been erased pursuant to section 46b-146, 54-76o or 54-142a or that the prospective employee had a prior conviction for which the prospective employee has received a provisional pardon or certificate of rehabilitation pursuant to section 54-130a, or a certificate of rehabilitation pursuant to section 54-108f.

[(e)] (f) No employer or employer's agent, representative or designee shall discharge, or cause to be discharged, or in any manner discriminate against, any employee solely on the basis that the employee had, prior to being employed by such employer, an arrest, criminal charge or conviction, the records of which have been erased pursuant to section 46b-146, 54-76o or 54-142a or that the employee had, prior to being employed by such employer, a prior conviction for which the employee has received a provisional pardon or certificate of rehabilitation pursuant to section 54-130a, or a certificate of rehabilitation pursuant to section 54-108f.

[(f)] (g) The portion of an employment application form [which] that contains information concerning the criminal history record of an applicant or employee shall only be available to the members of the personnel department of the company, firm or corporation or, if the company, firm or corporation does not have a personnel department, the person in charge of employment, and to any employee or member of the company, firm or corporation, or an agent of such employee or member, involved in the interviewing of the applicant.

[(g)] (h) Notwithstanding the provisions of subsection [(f)] (g) of this section, the portion of an employment application form [which] that contains information concerning the criminal history record of an applicant or employee may be made available as necessary to persons other than those specified in said subsection [(f)] (g) by:

(1) A broker-dealer or investment adviser registered under chapter 672a in connection with (A) the possible or actual filing of, or the collection or retention of information contained in, a form U-4 Uniform Application for Securities Industry Registration or Transfer, (B) the compliance responsibilities of such broker-dealer or investment adviser under state or federal law, or (C) the applicable rules of self-regulatory organizations promulgated in accordance with federal law;

(2) An insured depository institution in connection with (A) the management of risks related to safety and soundness, security or privacy of such institution, (B) any waiver that may possibly or actually be sought by such institution pursuant to section 19 of the Federal Deposit Insurance Act, 12 USC 1829(a), (C) the possible or actual obtaining by such institution of any security or fidelity bond, or (D) the compliance responsibilities of such institution under state or federal law; and

(3) An insurance producer licensed under chapter 701a in connection with (A) the management of risks related to security or privacy of such insurance producer, or (B) the compliance responsibilities of such insurance producer under state or federal law.

[(h)] (i) (1) For the purposes of this subsection: (A) "Consumer reporting agency" means any person who regularly engages, in whole or in part, in the practice of assembling or preparing consumer reports for a fee, which reports compile and report items of information on consumers that are matters of public record and are likely to have an adverse effect on a consumer's ability to obtain employment, but does not include any public agency; (B) "consumer report" means any written, oral or other communication of information bearing on an individual's credit worthiness, credit standing, credit capacity, character, general reputation, personal characteristics or mode of living; and (C) "criminal matters of public record" means information obtained from the Judicial Department relating to arrests, indictments, convictions, outstanding judgments, and any other conviction information, as defined in section 54-142g.

(2) Each consumer reporting agency that issues a consumer report that is used or is expected to be used for employment purposes and that includes in such report criminal matters of public record concerning the consumer shall:

(A) At the time the consumer reporting agency issues such consumer report to a person other than the consumer who is the subject of the report, provide the consumer who is the subject of the consumer report (i) notice that the consumer reporting agency is reporting criminal matters of public record, and (ii) the name and address of the person to whom such consumer report is being issued;

(B) Maintain procedures designed to ensure that any criminal matter of public record reported is complete and up-to-date as of the date the consumer report is issued, which procedures shall, at a minimum, conform to the requirements set forth in section 54-142e, as amended by this act.

(3) This subsection shall not apply in the case of an agency or department of the United States government seeking to obtain and use a consumer report for employment purposes if the head of the agency or department makes a written finding pursuant to 15 USC 1681b(b)(4)(A).

(j) An employee or prospective employee may file a complaint with the Labor Commissioner alleging an employer's violation of this section.

Sec. 2. Subsection (a) of section 54-142e of the general statutes is repealed and the following is substituted in lieu thereof (Effective from passage):

(a) Notwithstanding the provisions of subsection (e) of section 54-142a and section 54-142c, with respect to any person, including, but not limited to, a consumer reporting agency as defined in subsection [(h)] (i) of section 31-51i, as amended by this act, that purchases criminal matters of public record, as defined in said subsection (h), from the Judicial Department, the department shall make available to such person information concerning such criminal matters of public record that have been erased pursuant to section 54-142a. Such information may include docket numbers or other information that permits the person to identify and permanently delete records that have been erased pursuant to section 54-142a.

Sec. 3. (Effective from passage) (a) There is established a fair chance employment task force to study issues, including, but not limited to, the employment opportunities available to individuals with criminal histories.

(b) The task force shall consist of the following members:

(1) One appointed by the speaker of the House of Representatives;

(2) One appointed by the president pro tempore of the Senate;

(3) One appointed by the majority leader of the House of Representatives;

(4) One appointed by the majority leader of the Senate;

(5) One appointed by the minority leader of the House of Representatives;

(6) One appointed by the minority leader of the Senate; and

(7) The executive director of the African-American Affairs Commission, or the executive director's designee.

(c) Any member of the task force appointed under subdivisions (1) to (7), inclusive, of subsection (b) of this section may be a member of the General Assembly.

(d) All appointments to the task force shall be made not later than thirty days after the effective date of this section. Any vacancy shall be filled by the appointing authority.

(e) The speaker of the House of Representatives and the president pro tempore of the Senate shall select two chairpersons of the task force from among the members of the task force. Such chairpersons shall schedule the first meeting of the task force, which shall be held not later than sixty days after the effective date of this section.

(f) The administrative staff of the African-American Affairs Commission shall serve as administrative staff of the task force.

(g) Not later than January 1, 2017, and the January first thereafter, the task force shall submit a report on its findings and offer recommendations for any administrative or legislative action necessary to address such findings to the joint standing committees of the General Assembly having cognizance of matters relating to labor and the judiciary, in accordance with the provisions of section 11-4a of the general statutes. The task force shall terminate on the date that it submits its final report or January 1, 2018, whichever is later.

This act shall take effect as follows and shall amend the following sections:

Section 1

January 1, 2017

31-51i

Sec. 2

from passage

54-142e(a)

Sec. 3

from passage

New section

The following Fiscal Impact Statement and Bill Analysis are prepared for the benefit of the members of the General Assembly, solely for purposes of information, summarization and explanation and do not represent the intent of the General Assembly or either chamber thereof for any purpose. In general, fiscal impacts are based upon a variety of informational sources, including the analyst's professional knowledge. Whenever applicable, agency data is consulted as part of the analysis, however final products do not necessarily reflect an assessment from any specific department.

OFA Fiscal Note

State Impact:

Agency Affected

Fund-Effect

FY 17 $

FY 18 $

Various State Agencies

GF - Potential Cost

Less than $1,000

Less than $1,000

Note: GF=General Fund

Municipal Impact: None

Explanation

The bill creates a fair chance employment task force. There may be a cost of less than $1,000 in FY 17 and FY 18 to those agencies participating in the task force to reimburse legislators and agency staff for mileage expenses.

House “A” strikes the underlying bill and its associated fiscal impact and replaces it with the aforementioned impact.

The Out Years

There is no ongoing fiscal impact because the task force terminates in FY 18.

OLR Bill Analysis

sHB 5237 (as amended by House "A")*

AN ACT CONCERNING FAIR CHANCE EMPLOYMENT.

SUMMARY:

This bill prohibits employers from asking about a prospective employee's prior arrests, criminal charges, or convictions on an initial employment application unless (1) the employer must do so under state or federal law or (2) the prospective employee is applying for a position for which the employer must obtain a security or fidelity bond or equivalent bond.

The bill allows a prospective employee to file a complaint with the labor commissioner alleging a violation of this prohibition and subjects violators to a $300 per violation civil penalty imposed by the Labor Department. It also allows someone to file a complaint with the commissioner alleging an employer's violation of existing law on employment-related criminal record checks.

Lastly, the bill establishes the Fair Chance Employment Task Force to study issues that include the employment opportunities available to people with criminal histories. The task force must provide two reports to the Labor and Judiciary committees on its findings and recommendations for administrative or legislative action. The first is due by January 1, 2017, and the second is due by January 1, 2018.

*House Amendment “A” replaces the underlying bill (File 685) which generally prohibited employers with at least three employees from (1) asking about a prospective employee's past convictions until the employer made a conditional employment offer and (2) disqualifying someone from employment solely because of a prior criminal conviction.

EFFECTIVE DATE: January 1, 2017, except the provisions creating the task force and making a conforming change are effective upon passage.

COMPLAINTS FOR EMPLOYMENT-RELATED CRIMINAL RECORDS CHECKS

The bill allows someone to file a complaint with the labor commissioner alleging an employer's violation of its prohibitions or related violations of existing law. Existing law prohibits employers from requiring an employee or job applicant to disclose an arrest, criminal charge, or conviction with records that have been erased under certain conditions and requires employers to include a notice on job applications that states, among other things, that an applicant is not required to disclose these matters. The law prohibits employers from denying employment to an applicant or discharging or discriminating against an employee based solely on such matters or a prior conviction for which the employee or applicant received a provisional pardon or certificate of rehabilitation. It also requires employers to comply with certain requirements related to the confidentiality of a job application's criminal history section.

FAIR CHANCE EMPLOYMENT TASK FORCE

The bill establishes the Fair Chance Employment Task Force to study issues that include the employment opportunities available to people with criminal histories. The task force consists of the African-American Affairs Commission's (AAAC) executive director, or his designee, and one member appointed by each of the six legislative leaders. Appointments to the task force must be made within 30 days after the bill becomes law, and the appointees may include members of the General Assembly. Any vacancies must be filled by the appointing authority.

The House speaker and Senate president pro tempore must select two chairpersons from among the task force's members. The co-chairs must schedule the task force's first meeting, which must be held within 60 days after the bill becomes law. The AAAC's administrative staff must serve as the task force's administrative staff. The task force must terminate when it submits its final report or on January 1, 2018, whichever is later.

BACKGROUND

Legislative History

The House referred the bill (File 175) to the Appropriations Committee, which reported a substitute (File 685) that, among other things, (1) provides protections to all job applicants, rather than only those who have been released from the corrections commissioner's custody for a certain amount of time; (2) prohibits employers from inquiring about criminal convictions, rather than limiting the prohibition to questions on job applications; and (3) places enforcement of the bill under the Commission on Human Rights and Opportunities, rather than the Labor Department.

COMMITTEE ACTION

Labor and Public Employees Committee

Joint Favorable Substitute

Yea

13

Nay

0

(03/10/2016)

Appropriations Committee

Joint Favorable Substitute

Yea

45

Nay

9

(04/14/2016)

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