November 10, 2010
Tip of the Week: Employers in Massachusetts Prohibited from Asking About Criminal History on Job Applications
Filed under: News
Vision Payroll

Employers in Massachusetts Prohibited from Asking About Criminal History on Job ApplicationsEffective November 4, 2010, employers in Massachusetts are prohibited from asking about criminal history on most job applications. In some limited situations, employers will still be able to ask about criminal history on job applications.

Situations in Which Employer May Inquire About Criminal Convictions on Initial Applications

According to the new law, “[a]n employer may inquire about any criminal convictions on an applicant’s application form if:

(i) The applicant is applying for a position for which any federal or state law or regulation creates mandatory or presumptive disqualification based on a conviction for 1 or more types of criminal offenses; or

(ii) The employer or an affiliate of such employer is subject to an obligation imposed by any federal or state law or regulation not to employ persons, in either 1 or more positions, who have been convicted of 1 or more types of criminal offenses.”

Employers May Inquire Later in Application Process

The law does not prevent criminal history after the initial application either in an interview or on a subsequent form. Other existing laws, however, limit the types of questions employers may ask.

More Provisions of the Law to Take Effect in 2012

Changes to the information in the Massachusetts Criminal Offender Record Information (CORI) reports, as well as provisions relating to notices that must be provided to certain applicants and policies that must be maintained by certain employers take effect February 6, 2012.

Employers Must Revamp Their Hiring Policies and Procedures

Vision Payroll strongly recommends that employers consult with a qualified labor law attorney to make necessary changes to employment applications and forms and to receive advice as to how to make the necessary changes to their hiring policies and procedures.


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