PA 16-83—sHB 5237

Labor and Public Employees Committee

Appropriations Committee

AN ACT CONCERNING FAIR CHANCE EMPLOYMENT

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

The act allows a prospective employee to file a complaint with the labor commissioner alleging a violation of its employment application prohibition. It also allows a prospective employee or employee to file a complaint with the commissioner alleging an employer's violation of certain other prohibitions on employment-related criminal record checks. In both cases, violators are subject to a $300 per violation civil penalty imposed by the Labor Department (CGS 31-69a).

The act establishes a seven-member task force to study issues including 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 report is due by January 1, 2017, and the second is due by January 1, 2018.

The act also makes technical and conforming changes.

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 RECORD CHECKS

The act allows an employee or a prospective employee to file a complaint with the labor commissioner alleging an employer's violation of (1) its employment application prohibition or (2) certain other statutory provisions on employment-related criminal record checks. By law, these other provisions:

1. prohibit employers from requiring an employee or job applicant to disclose an arrest, criminal charge, or conviction when the records have been erased under certain conditions;

2. require employers to include a notice on job applications stating, among other things, that an applicant is not required to disclose these matters;

3. prohibit 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; and

4. require employers to comply with certain requirements related to the confidentiality of a job application's criminal history section.

FAIR CHANCE EMPLOYMENT TASK FORCE

The act establishes the Fair Chance Employment Task Force to study issues including the employment opportunities available to people with criminal histories. The task force consists of the African-American Affairs Commission's (AAAC) executive director, or her designee, and one member appointed by each of the six legislative leaders. (PA 16-3, May Special Session, replaces the AAAC with the Commission on Equity and Opportunity. ) Appointments to the task force must be made by July 1, 2016, and the appointees may include legislators. The appointing authorities must fill any vacancies.

The House speaker and Senate president pro tempore must select two task force members to chair the task force, and the chairpersons must schedule and hold the first task force meeting by July 31, 2016. The commission's administrative staff must serve as the task force's administrative staff. The task force terminates when it submits its final report or on January 1, 2018, whichever is later.

OLR Tracking: LRH; KS; VR; JM; bs