Kentucky Reentry Law Will Give Employers Protection When Hiring Ex-Offenders

Second Chance

Written By ESR News Blog Editor Thomas Ahearn

On April 5, 2021, Kentucky Governor Andy Beshear signed into law House Bill 497 (HB 497) that will create a certificate program to give employers protection from legal barriers and civil liabilities for hiring qualified ex-offenders who have prior criminal records and are trained for a job. The new law will take effect in July 2021.

HB 497 – which was unanimously passed by the Kentucky Legislature in March 2021 – requires the Department of Corrections (DOC) to issue ex-offenders documentation of their criminal history, institutional history, and a “certificate of employability.” The law also encourages the DOC to provide support in preparing job resumes.

Under HB 497, eligible incarcerated individuals may receive a certificate of employability by completing certain vocational and/or educational requirements and passing a skills assessment test administered by the DOC.
Employers may request the certificate of employability from applicants and can check its validity with the DOC.

HB 497 does not require employers to accept an applicant with a criminal record, and the certificate of employability will not be issued to sex offenders and other excluded persons. However, it does provide legal protection from negligent hiring lawsuits if employers hire ex-offenders with a certificate of employability.

Second chance programs and reentry laws that help allow ex-offenders with a prior criminal record an opportunity to find work will continue to evolve, according to leading global background check firm Employment Screening Resources® (ESR), which compiled the “ESR Top Ten Background Check Trends” for 2021.

ESR founder and Chief Executive Officer (CEO) Attorney Lester Rosen and ESR Vice President of Strategic Growth Dawn Standerwick will host a webinar titled “ESR Top Ten Background Check Trends for 2021” on Wednesday, April 21, 2021, from 11:00 a.m. to 12:00 p.m. Pacific Time. To register for the webinar, click here.

Employment Screening Resources® (ESR) – which was named the #1 screening firm in 2020 by HRO Today – offers a white paper on “Ten Critical Steps for Ex-Offenders to Get Back into the Workforce,” an “ESR Ban the Box Resource Guide,” and a Ban the Box Resource Page. To learn more about ESR, visit www.esrcheck.com.

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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