2019Ban the Box

Ban the Box

Written By ESR News Blog Editor Thomas Ahearn

On April 3, 2019, New Mexico Governor Michelle Lujan Grisham signed Senate Bill 96 (SB 96), the “Criminal Offender Employment Act” which is a measure that will “Ban the Box” by prohibiting private employers in the state from inquiring about a job applicant’s arrest or conviction history on an initial employment application, according to a press release on the Governor’s website.

“Senate Bill 96, a bipartisan piece of legislation that would remove the so-called criminal history ‘box’ from job applications, allows New Mexicans a fair opportunity at employment. It is our responsibility to ensure that we create a pathway for individuals to contribute to our economy and to our communities,” Governor Lujan Grisham stated in the press release about the criminal justice reform initiatives.

Under the “Criminal Offender Employment Act” – which should take effect by mid-June – private employers may still ask about a job applicant’s criminal record in the interview process but not on a first application to give ex-offenders with criminal records a chance at an interview and a job. The law amends SECTION 1. Section 28-2-1 NMSA 1978 (being Laws 1974, Chapter 78, Section 1) to read:

“EMPLOYMENT ELIGIBILITY DETERMINATION–PRIVATE EMPLOYERS.– A. If a private employer uses a written or electronic employment application, the employer shall not make an inquiry regarding an applicant’s history of arrest or conviction on the employment application but may take into consideration an applicant’s conviction after review of the applicant’s application and upon discussion of employment with the applicant. Nothing in this section shall prohibit an employer from notifying the public or an applicant that the law or the employer’s policy could disqualify an applicant who has a certain criminal history from employment in particular positions with that employer. B. An applicant who claims to be aggrieved by a violation of Subsection A of this section may seek relief under the Human Rights Act pursuant to the process set out in Sections 28-1-10 through 28-1-13 NMSA 1978.”

“Ban the Box” is a growing nationwide movement that seeks to advance job opportunities for people with prior criminal convictions by eliminating any inquiry into the criminal history of candidates on job applications, specifically the checkbox that requires candidates to disclose their criminal history. As of April 2019, more than 150 cities and counties, as well as 34 states, have passed Ban the Box laws.

States with Ban the Box laws for public employers include Arizona, California, Colorado, Connecticut, Delaware, Georgia, Hawaii, Illinois, Indiana, Kansas, Kentucky, Louisiana, Maryland, Massachusetts, Michigan, Minnesota, Missouri, Nebraska, Nevada, New Jersey, New Mexico, New York, North Dakota, Ohio, Oklahoma, Oregon, Pennsylvania, Rhode Island, Tennessee, Utah, Vermont, Virginia, Washington, and Wisconsin.

In addition, twelve states – California, Connecticut, Hawaii, Illinois, Massachusetts, Minnesota, New Jersey, New Mexico, Oregon, Rhode Island, Vermont, and Washington – as well as the District of Columbia have passed Ban the Box laws for private employers. More ESR News blogs about the Ban the Box movement are available at www.esrcheck.com/wordpress/tag/ban-the-box/.

Employment Screening Resources® (ESR) also offers a complimentary white paper entitled “Ban the Box Now More than the Exception for Employers when Screening” along with the “ESR Ban the Box Resource Guide for States, Counties & Cities” to help both public and private employers understand their responsibilities if they live in one of the many areas where Ban the Box laws have taken effect.

Employment Screening Resources® (ESR) – a leading global background check provider – offers employers a Ban the Box Resource Page the contains complimentary white papers, infographics, and an interactive map updated with the latest Ban the Box laws. The ESR Ban the Box Resource Page is available at www.esrcheck.com/Legislative-Compliance/Ban-the-Box/.

NOTE: Employment Screening Resources® (ESR) does not provide or offer legal services or legal advice of any kind or nature. Any information on this website is for educational purposes only.

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