Increasing Criminal Background Check Requirements Pose Challenges for National Retailers

Retailers operating in multiple states and communities face growing challenges in complying with (i) the increasing and varying number of state and local “ban the box” laws and (ii) laws limiting employers’ use of applicants’ criminal background information. According to a May report from the National Employment Law Project, 27 states and more than 150 municipalities and counties now regulate criminal background checks in some form. Expect the numbers to go up. Just this past year, three states—Connecticut, Vermont, and California—expanded existing laws or regulations pertaining to criminal background checks by private employers. Municipalities also continue to enter the fray.

New State Laws/Regulations
  • As of January 1, 2017, Connecticut law prohibits asking about criminal history on job applications and prohibits employers from, among other things, denying employment solely on the basis of “erased records.” Further, pardoned and/or rehabilitated convictions cannot form the sole basis of a discharge.

  • Effective July 1, 2017, employers in Vermont will be prohibited from requesting criminal record information on an initial application. If criminal information is subsequently uncovered by the employer, the applicant must be given an opportunity to respond. FULL ARTICLE