New Jersey - Employment Screening Resources (ESR)
1. Searches available as part of the Multi-Jurisdictional Search:
Archived Department of Corrections
This database contains archived felony conviction information on individuals who were under the supervision of the New Jersey Department of Corrections. These records date back seven years. This is an archived database and does not receive updates
Department of Corrections
This database contains current and historical felony conviction and parole information on inmates under the jurisdiction of the New Jersey Department of Corrections. These records date back at least seven years. This data is updated semi-annually.
Administrative Office of the Courts
This database contains current and historical felony conviction information on individuals who are or have been under the jurisdiction of the New Jersey Superior Court System. Misdemeanor offenses are provided ONLY if they were part of a case that contained a felony. These records date back at least seven years. This data is updated monthly.
P.O.D. (Proprietary Offender Data)
This database is comprised of proprietary criminal data compiled from previously ordered county, statewide and federal criminal requests, from all 50 states, which contained records, as well as data aggregated by a third party provider.
Sex Offender Registry
The sex offender registry is maintained by the New Jersey State Police and Attorney General. This registry includes individuals who have been convicted of tier 3 and/or tier 2 sex offense(s); high and moderate risk offenders. Registry information includes offender name, alias name, sex offense description, date of conviction, date of birth, address of registration, race, gender, hair and eye color, height and weight. Photo of registered sex offender provided as made available by the data source.
2. Available Supplemental Searches:
Statewide search through New Jersey Police. Additional surcharge of $18.00.
1. Limitations on Use of Conviction and Arrest Records.
“Unless otherwise provided by law, if an order of expungement is granted, the arrest, conviction and any proceedings related thereto shall be deemed not to have occurred, and the petitioner may answer any questions relating to their occurrence accordingly…” N.J.S.A § 2C:52-27.
Opportunity to Correct or Complete Record of Criminal Information.
New Jersey employers must give applicants notice of adverse criminal information and time to correct or complete the record before making a final determination as to applicant’s eligibility. “A person is presumed innocent of any pending charges or arrests for which there are no final dispositions indicated on the record.” New Jersey Administrative Code 13:59-1.6(a).
What is a crime in New Jersey:
2C:1-4. Classes of offenses
a. An offense defined by this code or by any other statute of this State, for which a sentence of imprisonment in excess of 6 months is authorized, constitutes a crime within the meaning of the Constitution of this State. Crimes are designated in this code as being of the first, second, third or fourth degree.
b. An offense is a disorderly persons offense if it is so designated in this code or in a statute other than this code. An offense is a petty disorderly persons offense if it is so designated in this code or in a statute other than this code. Disorderly persons offenses and petty disorderly persons offenses are petty offenses and are not crimes within the meaning of the Constitution of this State. There shall be no right to indictment by a grand jury nor any right to trial by jury on such offenses. Conviction of such offenses shall not give rise to any disability or legal disadvantage based on conviction of a crime.
c. An offense defined by any statute of this State other than this code shall be classified as provided in this section or in section 2C:43-1 and, except as provided in section 2C:1-5b and chapter 43, the sentence that may be imposed upon conviction thereof shall hereafter be governed by this code. Insofar as any provision outside the code declares an offense to be a misdemeanor when such offense specifically provides a maximum penalty of 6 months' imprisonment or less, whether or not in combination with a fine, such provision shall constitute a disorderly persons offense.
d. Subject to the provisions of section 2C:43-1, reference in any statute, rule, or regulation outside the code to the term "high misdemeanor" shall mean crimes of the first, second, or third degree and reference to the term "misdemeanor" shall mean all crimes.
Non-indictable offenses are normally not maintained by court clerks clerks. Although such information may be physically available from local municipal courts, due to the difficultly in finding such data and the fact they are not considered crimes, the standard in New Jersey is to access only indictable offenses. There are 535 municipal courts in New Jersey. Searches fro criminal records are performed a the 21 Superior Courts. A Non-indictable offenses is tecnically not a crime but may be a public record. A screening firm should not describe a Non-indictable offenses as a crime.
Criminal Records:Rules for Screening Firms: National Rules apply
Other State Specific Rules: National Rules
ESR forms adjusted to incorporate state FCRA requirements.
Disputed accuracy: CRA must not only notify consumer within five days that a dispute is frivolous, but unlike federal law, must give reasons.
2. State FCRA Laws.
Consumer Reports For Employment Purposes.
Under N.J.S.A. 56:11-31 “a. A consumer reporting agency may furnish a consumer report…(3) To a person which it has reason to believe:… (b) intends to use the information for employment purposes.”
New Jersey’s version of the FCRA does not contain any provisions limiting the duration for which Consumer Reporting Agencies may report criminal records.
Comparable to FCRA § 611 [15 U.S.C. § 1681i], except that a CRA must notify consumer within five business days of decision that dispute is frivolous, including the reasons for its decision. N.J.S.A. 56:11-36.
Disclosures to Consumers By Agency.
Comparable to FCRA § 609 [15 U.S.C § 1681g], except that all information in the file is disclosed. N.J.S.A. 56:11-34. (Note to LSR-this may not be a difference)
See: 56:11-34 Disclosure to consumer.7. Every consumer reporting agency shall, upon request and proper identification of any consumer, clearly and accurately disclose to the consumer:
a. All information in the consumer's file at the time of the request.
b. The sources of the information; except that the sources of information acquired solely for use in preparing an investigative consumer report and actually used for no other purpose need not be disclosed: provided, that if an action is brought under this act or the federal "Fair Credit Reporting Act," such sources shall be available to the plaintiff under appropriate discovery procedures in the court in which the action is brought.
Disclosures to Consumers by Users.
“You have the right to have a copy of any requested report on request”
Special State Rules: Investigative Consumer Report-permission before requesting it and disclosing right to obtain information.
From the November, 2006 ESR Newsletter:
“Non-Criminal” Offenses And Violations Can Trip Up Employers
Employers need to proceed with caution before utilizing “non-criminal” offense records. Some states, such as New York and New Jersey, have created categories of minor offenses that are specifically deemed to be “non-criminal.” Examples of such offenses can be traffic violations or violations related to “disturbing of the peace.” New Jersey has a system for “offenses,” which are typically brought in lower courts in order to expedite less serious matters. An expert in New Jersey criminal searches states that a “non-criminal” offense can be brought in over 500 municipal courts for offenses that do not exceed six months in custody.
For the unsuspecting employer, this “non-criminal” case can cause complications. For example, assume a job candidate stated in their application that they have not been convicted of a crime. A background screening report reveals that they do have a court record for disorderly conduct, in a state that has labeled such a record as being “non-criminal.” In that case, an employer cannot assume that the applicant has been untruthful, since technically the applicant was not convicted of a crime.
On the other hand, there is nothing that prevents an employer from utilizing information properly obtained that is a valid predictor or job performance, and non-discriminatory where state law has not prohibited the employer from considering it. The “non-criminal” disposition could have resulted from a more serious matter that may demonstrate behavior that is inconsistent with the job, such as violence. However, it is the underlying behavior that is being considered, and it can be difficult to discover the underlying factual basis of the “non-criminal” matter.
Most employers have questions in their application forms about past criminal convictions. Employers in states that have such non-criminal offenses may want to change the language on their application forms to include asking about “non-criminal offenses or violations,” provided there is no prohibition in their state about asking. Employers should contact their legal department or outside attorney to review their applications. Employers should also keep in mind that their applications should contain language advising applicants that a criminal conviction will not be used to automatically deny employment.
The bottom-line: if an employer locates such a “non-criminal violation,” they should proceed with caution and not assume the applicant has been untruthful.