Each state has different laws regarding the ability of employers to consider a person’s criminal history when hiring for private employment, public employment, and consideration of criminal history after being granted a pardon. If you live in Connecticut and you have a criminal conviction on your record, you should understand Connecticut’s policies since they could affect you. Connecticut has implemented a policy called “ban the box,” but is this enough to ensure fair treatment for those with criminal records?
Ban the Box
In Connecticut, there is a ban-the-box law on private and public employment. Since January 2017, employers are not allowed to ask applicants about charges or convictions unless the law requires disclosure of a criminal history or the position requires a fidelity bond. A fidelity bond is insurance that covers a business for losses that they incur from dishonest acts of employees.
Ban the box is an initiative that a few states have implemented to advocate for ex-offenders, and remove the check box that asks applicants if they have a criminal record on job applications. Further, employers cannot ask about a potential employee’s prior convictions until that applicant has been deemed qualified for the position.
Criminal History and Getting a Job
In regards to public employment, applicants cannot be automatically denied or disqualified because of a prior conviction. The employer must also consider the nature of the crime in relation to the job position, information on the applicant’s rehabilitation, and how long ago the conviction was. If an employer rejects an applicant because of his or her conviction, the employer must state the rejection in writing and state the evidence and reasons for the rejection.
Lastly, it is against the law in Connecticut for an employer to deny an applicant employment or a license on the basis of a pardoned conviction.
Is Ban the Box Good Enough?
Many Connecticut lawyers and employees have already criticized ban-the-box because it does not prevent employers from verbally inquiring about an applicant’s criminal history in an interview. Not only that, but an employer can run a background check on an applicant before an interview even takes place, and could therefore just not call applicants back for interviews.
Another criticism of ban-the-box is that it is not enforced very heavily. If someone is required to check a box on an application stating that they have a criminal history, the most that person could do is report the employer or company to the Connecticut Department of Labor. A person who is denied a job in violation of ban-the-box cannot even sue the employer for damages in court.
Even with new initiative and changes that appear to be helping with ex-offender discrimination, the problems are still there and discrimination still occurs. If you are an ex-offender and have a criminal history, the best way to combat discrimination is to contact us to see if you are eligible to apply for a pardon. Obtaining a Connecticut pardon can open many doors for you, even if you don’t have to inform your employer of a criminal past due to ban the box.