Colorado implemented a bill that intends to help residents with criminal records find new employment opportunities.
About The Bill
In 2019, Colorado lawmakers proposed a statewide “Ban the Box” bill. Their goal was to prohibit employers from asking questions about convictions on job applications. If an applicant has any type of conviction in their past, they are asked to check a box.
In most cases, anyone who checks this box is immediately disqualified. They are not given an opportunity to discuss their qualifications or show that a criminal record is minor or outdated.
Representative Leslie Herod supported this bill and feels it will help people who are simply looking for a chance to rejoin society. She noted employers will still be allowed and encouraged to run background checks on candidates they are considering. This empowers the employer to see if an individual has serious convictions or other adverse information that might make them ineligible for hire.
What The Bill Stipulates
Governor Jared Polis signed the bill into law in May, 2019. It prohibits CO employers from:
· Including content on job postings that declares a person with any type of criminal history may not apply.
· Asking questions about criminal records on job applications.
The Department of Labor and Employment will enforce the requirements of this bill. A warning and order for compliance will be issued to first time violaters. Additional violations could result in civil penalties.
There are some exceptions created by this bill. The above laws do not apply if:
· Existing law prohibits a person with any criminal record from having a specific position.
· An employer is participating in a program that encourages the hiring of individuals with criminal histories.
· The employer is legally required to check an applicant’s criminal history for a particular position.
The bill goes into effect at “12:01 a.m. on the day following the expiration of the ninety-day period after final adjournment of the general assembly” unless a referendum petition is filed. Read the bill.
Keeping Up With Relevant Laws
Every employer must comply with federal, state and local laws where they operate. To help, Backgrounds Online publishes this blog, maintains a State Laws section on our website and sends a monthly Newsletter with educational information about compliance, laws and best practices.
Many states, cities and counties have Ban the Box laws, but employers everywhere are encouraged to run background checks at the appropriate time. This is typically after an interview or conditional offer is extended.
When you order background checks, it is important to include all the criminal and position-specific components needed to help determine if a candidate is qualified and eligible. The team at Backgrounds Online is available to help you create custom background screening packages that can be used for any type of position and in accordance with relevant laws.
To learn more about how we can help you avoid risk, build strong teams, create a safe work environment and make informed decisions, please contact us. Every member of our Processing Team is highly trained, FCRA-certified and available to assist you Monday through Friday from 5am to 6pm.