New rules for criminal background checks » CBIA

The following article was provided by Berchem Moses PC. It is published here with permission.


Effective January 1, 2023, Connecticut public and private employers must comply with new rules on the use of criminal background information.

Employers were already barred from seeking information about cleared criminal records, including the fact that an individual was granted juvenile status.

The new law expands the definition of “deleted criminal record information” to include all deleted records, information about individuals who have been granted juvenile delinquent status, and continuations of criminal proceedings older than thirteen months.

Employers also may not deny employment to a prospective employee or discriminate against a current employee solely on the basis of “deleted criminal record information” or prior convictions for which the individual has received a temporary pardon or certificate of rehabilitation.

Criminal Investigations

As a reminder, applicable Connecticut law prohibits employers from asking about a prospective employee’s prior arrest, criminal charge, or conviction in an initial application.

There is an exception if the employer is required to do so by state or federal law and must meet retention requirements.

Employers are allowed to ask about criminal background at other steps of the recruitment process.

Applicable law prohibits employers from inquiring about a prospective employee’s prior arrests, criminal charges, or convictions when applying for an initial job.

If they do, they must include a standard notice on the form stating that certain information is not required to be provided, and the new law updates the notice requirements.

The old language must be used by December 31, 2022, the new language is valid from January 1, 2023.

The new requirement is to notify applicants in clear and prominent language:

(1) That the applicant is not required to disclose the existence of deleted criminal history information, (2) that deleted criminal history information is a record relating to the determination of a criminal offense or that a child was a member of a family with service needs, a A juvenile delinquent conviction, a criminal charge dismissed or vacated, a criminal charge for which the person has been found not guilty, or a conviction for which the person has been granted an absolute pardon, or criminal records erased pursuant to law or other legal authority , and (3) that any person with criminal records deleted shall be deemed never arrested under the general laws relating to the proceedings so deleted and may swear an oath to that effect.

The new law also allows employees to file grievances with the Department of Labor or the Commission on Human Rights and Opportunities, depending on which section of the law is being violated.

In addition, an employee can go directly to the Supreme Court for various remedies, including a possible injunctive relief.

recommendations

Before conducting a criminal background check on a consumer report (rather than requiring an applicant to disclose information), employers should ensure they meet the specific reporting requirements of the Federal Fair Credit Reporting Act.

If an employer learns that an employee or applicant has a criminal background, they should ensure that they make carefully reasoned decisions about the relevance of previous convictions to the intended employment.

Otherwise, allegations of discrimination based on race and national origin could be made even if a policy is applied impartially.


About the author: Rebecca Goldberg is an Associate with Berchem Moses PC focusing on labor and employment matters in state and federal courts and administrative agencies.

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