New Jersey became the latest state to pass the so-called “ban-the-box” bill which, in general, prohibits an employer from inquiring about a criminal history at or before an initial interview. In the last few years, New Jersey had attempted to pass legislation that was far broader and more troubling for public safety. After CDIA and others helped defeat legislation that would have prohibited most inquiries in to most criminal histories for many jobs, the new New Jersey law is more modest. The law still offers protections to job applicants and manages to largely protect the public by allowing employers to check an employee’s criminal past, but later in the hiring process. You can view and read Gov. Chris Christie’s (R) bill signing announcement, and a story in Forbes, as well as legal summaries by SeyfarthShaw and Littler.
The Opportunity to Compete Act, effective March 1, 2015, was signed on Aug. 11, 2014 and became P.L. 2014 c.32. The new law was A. 1999 and S. 2124.
Eric J. Ellman is Senior Vice President for Public Policy and Legal Affairs at the Consumer Data Industry Association (CDIA) in Washington, DC. He also served for eight months as Interim President and CEO of the Association. More