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Massachusetts Modifies “Ban the Box” Law

October 9, 2018 | Debbie Caporusso

The Massachusetts Senate Bill No. 2371, “An Act Relative to Criminal Justice Reform” will become law effective October 13, 2018 and will have extensive criminal justice reform provisions and important modifications to the “Ban the Box” anti-discrimination laws.

The following amendments to the existing “Ban the Box” laws and will go into effect on of October 13, 2018.

Decreased Time Period for Disclosure of Misdemeanor Convictions

Employers are prohibited from asking applicants, either orally or in writing, about any misdemeanor where the date of the conviction or completion of incarceration occurred three or more years (amended from five) prior to the date of the employment application, unless the applicant has been convicted of any offense in that same period.

New Restriction Regarding Sealed or Expunged Records

Employers are now additionally prohibited from asking applicants, either orally or in writing, about criminal records or anything related to a criminal record that have been sealed or expunged.

Required Notice Language to Applicants: Employers asking for criminal record information at any point during the application process must now include the following statement on the request form: “An applicant for employment with a record expunged pursuant to section 100F, section 100G, section 100H or section 100K of chapter 276 of the General Laws may answer ‘no record’ with respect to an inquiry herein relative to prior arrests, criminal court appearances or convictions.  An applicant for employment with a record expunged pursuant to section 100F, section 100G, section 100H or section 100K of chapter 276 of the General Laws may answer ‘no record’ to an inquiry herein relative to prior arrests, criminal court appearances, juvenile court appearances, adjudications, or convictions.”

Recommended Actions in Preparation for October 13, 2018

  • If you have not already done so, review job applications and remove any criminal records inquiries.
  • Review your hiring and interview policies and processes. Revise them to ensure they are not inquiring about off limits information and that any written question to applicants that inquires about criminal history contain the required language.
  • Train all individuals involved in recruitment, hiring, and interviewing, to comply with the requirements of this law.

 

Learn more about the 2018 Amendment

NOTE:  This information is offered as general direction and in no way should be construed or accepted as legal advice.  Each individual employer may have particular regulatory and other requirements which may alter this general direction. Furthermore, each individual position may have unique duties, responsibilities, and characteristics which may influence this general direction.

 

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