Employers that operate in New Mexico should be aware of a new expungement law and updates to the state’s Ban the Box bill.
Ban The Box Updates
New Mexico has an active Ban the Box law that prohibits public sector employees from including question about criminal convictions on job applications. A new law known as the Criminal Offender Employment Act was signed on April 3, 2019. It states that private employers may not ask about an applicant’s arrests or convictions until after “a review of the applicant's application and upon discussion of employment with the applicant.”
This law expands the state’s Ban the Box policies to encompass private organizations. Every employer in New Mexico is still encouraged to run criminal background checks on potential employees, contractors and volunteers. The bill specifies that a criminal history can be sufficient cause to deny employment. However, it will help ensure that an employer cannot automatically disqualify a job seeker before completing an initial review of the candidate’s qualifications.
This act becomes effective statewide by mid-June of 2019.
New Expungement Law
A law known as the Criminal Record Expungement Act was also signed on April 3, 2019. It grants New Mexico residents the right to have certain types of arrest and conviction records expunged. To do this, the person must file a petition with the court. If their request is granted, then the record(s) in question can be sealed.
Once a criminal record is sealed, it cannot be reviewed or considered by employers. That means it will not be available on a background check.
Exceptions can be made for certain positions such as law enforcement or medical workers. The Act decrees: “Upon entry of an order to expunge, the proceedings shall be treated as if they never occurred, and officials and the person who received the order to expunge may reply to an inquiry that no record exists with respect to the person; provided that arrest or conviction records shall be disclosed by the person and officials in connection with any application for or query regarding qualification for employment or association with any financial institution regulated by the financial industry regulatory authority or the securities and exchange commission.”
This bill becomes effective on January 1, 2020.
Employers In New Mexico
Governor Michelle Lujan Grisham signed these bills and they cover most employers in the state. If you operate in New Mexico you should prepare for compliance with both laws.
Every employer should create and maintain written hiring and background screening policies. When new laws are implemented, these policies should be reviewed and updated as necessary. For example, employers in New Mexico can add information about these two laws and ensure everyone involved in the hiring process is aware of and prepared for any required changes.
Keep Up With Laws Where You Operate
It is the responsibility of every employer to be aware of and compliant with laws that are in effect where they operate. To help, Backgrounds Online provides educational resources such as this blog, a monthly newsletter and more.
If you need to run background checks that comply with federal and state laws, please contact us. Our processing team members earn their FCRA certification and work diligently to keep up with laws that impact our customers. We are available to assist you Monday through Friday from 5am to 6pm PT.