Have you heard of the ban-the-box law? Connecticut has lots of laws that prescribe lawful conduct among residents and citizens. While some of these laws dictate citizens’ responsibilities, others guarantee their rights. For example, Connecticut’s labor and employment laws specify rules for hiring and recruiting, pay and benefits, wages, and working hours. If your employer flaunts those laws, your Connecticut employment attorney can help you fight for justice.
One major subject that Connecticut’s labor law touches on is that of discrimination in employment. Both federal and state laws prohibit victimization of any kind. That includes discrimination based on gender, ethnicity, disability, etc. It also protects people with criminal records from discrimination, especially during the application process.
On June 1, 2016, the government of Connecticut signed the ban-the-box bill into law which became effective in January 2017. This law provides some protection for potential employees with previous arrests, criminal charges, and convictions. We’ll discuss those in detail in this article. First, however, we’ll discuss how federal laws protect ex-convicts too.
What Federal Laws Protect Applicants With Criminal Records?
The following federal laws guarantee the rights of job seekers in the United States of America:
The Fair Credit Reporting Act (FCRA)
This act applies to employers when they use a third party for background checks on applicants. It doesn’t apply if the employers do the investigation themselves. According to the act, the employers must get written approval from the applicants.
They must also notify the applicants of their decision to disqualify them based on their findings. If the employer hires third-party investigation firms, they must take reasonable steps to deliver accurate information.
Title VII of the Civil Rights Act of 1964
Title VII of the Civil Rights Act protects job applicants from discrimination of any kind. However, the EEOC has issued guidelines on consideration of arrest and conviction records in employment decisions. That way, employers can exclude applicants with criminal records without discriminating against them.
What Is the Ban-the-Box Legislation?
The ban-the-box legislation is also called the “free chance” law. It prohibits employers from considering a job seeker’s previous criminal conviction or arrest in the initial employment process. That is, employers cannot automatically exclude a job application based on the applicant’s criminal record.
To that end, the law prohibits employers from asking job applicants about their prior arrests, criminal charges, or convictions. Therefore, both public and private employees in Connecticut must remove questions about arrest and conviction histories from their application forms. Unfortunately, this only applies to the initial employment applications and not subsequent stages of the hiring process.
That is, an employer may still verbally inquire about your previous arrests, criminal charges, and conviction during an interview. To avoid such situations, it’s much easier to have your dismissed arrests expunged from the criminal record and online searches. Your attorney can help you with that. If you erased your criminal history, it is as though the arrest and criminal charges never happened.
Are There Any Exceptions to Connecticut’s Ban-the-Box Law?
Connecticut’s free chance laws are not without their exceptions. The exceptions to these rules are:
If It’s a State or Federal Law Requirement
The ban-the-box rule doesn’t supersede state and federal laws. If any state or federal law requires employers to verify an applicant’s criminal history upon application, they must do so.
For Positions That Require Fidelity or Security Bond
The ban-the-box law doesn’t apply to positions that require security or fidelity bonds. Usually, such positions allow the applicant to access or handle huge amounts of money.
What To Do if My Employer Goes Against the Free Chance Law in Connecticut
If a covered employer flaunts the ban-the-box rule in Connecticut, you have no private right of action against them. However, you can report the at-fault employer to the Connecticut Department of Labor (DOL). It’s not an easy process, so what you must do is call a Connecticut employment lawyer as soon as possible. Your legal representation will ensure that you get the justice you deserve.
Contact a Connecticut Employment Lawyer Immediately!
As a job applicant, the law protects you from discrimination of any kind in the hiring process. As such, under the ban-the-box law, you mustn’t be excluded from getting employment based on your criminal record. So, if you’re in such a situation, an employment attorney can help you fight it.
At Aeton Law Partners, our employment lawyers know all about Connecticut’s employment laws and how to make them work for you. So talk to us about whatever discrimination in employment that you’re facing today. We are eager to help you through it.