Colorado Becomes 13th State to Pass “Ban the Box” Legislation

On May 28, 2019, Colorado governor Jared Polis signed into law the Colorado Chance to Compete Act (House Bill 19-1025), more commonly known as “ban the box” legislation. The recently signed Act is another example of pro-employee legislative change that has taken place since the Democrats gained control of the state legislature in 2018.

 

New Mexico Passes Ban-the-Box and Expungement Laws

On April 3, 2019, New Mexico governor Michelle Lujan Grisham signed into law two bills related to criminal background checks that may affect employers operating in the state. The first is a ban-the-box law that prohibits private employers from inquiring about an applicant’s criminal history on an employment application. The second allows certain individuals to petition the court for expungement of criminal records.

Second Verse, Same as the First: Ninth Circuit Weighs in Again on Background Check Disclosures, Raising the Compliance Bar Even Higher

The disclosure requirement of the federal Fair Credit Reporting Act (FCRA) remains one of the most contentious and expensive litigation areas for employers. The case law from various federal district courts has been a mixed bag, leaving employers to question what it means to provide a “clear and conspicuous” disclosure in a writing that “consists solely” of the disclosure.

San Francisco’s Amended Fair Chance Ordinance Takes Effect with Updated Notice Requirements

On October 1, 2018, San Francisco’s amendments to its Fair Chance Ordinance (FCO) took effect. The FCO is San Francisco’s “ban the box” equivalent that regulates employers’ use of applicants’ and employees’ arrest and conviction information.

EEOC Reminds Employers of the Importance of Targeted Screening and Individualized Assessment Processes

On September 24, 2018, the U.S. Equal Employment Opportunity Commission (EEOC) reaffirmed the importance of following its 2012 enforcement guidance on employer use of criminal history information—specifically the EEOC’s targeted screening process and individualized assessment process–when it announced a voluntary agreement with large furniture retailer Rooms To Go.

CFPB Issues New Background Check Summary of Rights Form With Imminent Effective Date

On September 12, 2018, the Consumer Financial Protection Bureau (CFPB) issued an interim final rule updating its A Summary of Your Rights Under the Fair Credit Reporting Act form, (“Summary of Rights”) which is required to be given by employers to applicants and employees at various points in the background check process.

“Ban The Box” Turns 20: Decoding the Current Framework

Twenty years ago, on a warm summer day, Hawaii enacted a restriction on employer inquiries into an applicant’s work history until after a conditional offer of employment. Intended to give applicants with criminal histories a fair shot at employment, the law—the first state “ban the box” law—crystalized a movement that, in time, would yield similar restrictions in 12 states and 17 localities (for private employers). The result is a crisscrossing jumble of requirements with little uniformity, putting employers in a difficult position when dealing with applicants (and sometimes even existing employees) in different jurisdictions.

Everything Else You Need to Know About New York City’s FCA—New Rules Effective August 5, 2017

New York City has issued new rules interpreting the city’s Fair Chance Act (FCA). These rules, which went into effect on August 5, 2017, provide clarification and guidance on how employers can comply with the requirements of the FCA, the city’s restrictive “ban the box” law which prohibits (with few exceptions) employers from inquiring about or considering an individual’s criminal history until after a conditional offer of employment is extended.

Ninth Circuit Breaks New Ground, Addresses Standing and Extraneous Content in Background Check Disclosure Forms/Screens

On January 20, 2017, the Ninth Circuit became the first court of appeals to weigh in on several important legal issues for expensive, increasingly common background check class actions—specifically (a) the extraneous content and language in an employer’s background check disclosure forms and online screens that violate the federal Fair Credit Reporting Act (FCRA), and (b) the standing requirements to file background check claims. In Syed v. M-I, LLC, the Ninth Circuit held that (1) inclusion of a liability release in an employment background check disclosure is a willful violation of the FCRA, subjecting an employer to expensive statutory and punitive damages, and (2) this kind of violation results in a concrete harm that satisfies Article III standing, as recently clarified by the Supreme Court of the United States in Spokeo, Inc. v. Robins.

California Law Restricts Employers From Asking About Juvenile Criminal History

California recently amended its existing law governing inquiries into and the use of juvenile criminal information. Effective January 1, 2017 employers will be restricted from asking about, seeking, or using a California applicant/employee’s juvenile criminal history in the employment context.

Portland’s Ban-the-Box Law Takes Effect, Administrative Rules Provide Clarity

Portland, Oregon’s ban-the-box law, the Removing Barriers to Employment Ordinance, took effect on July 1, 2016. The ordinance prohibits most Portland employers from asking about an applicant’s criminal history or conducting a background check on an applicant until after a conditional offer of employment has been made.

No Texas Hold ‘Em: Fifth Circuit Allows Texas to Challenge the EEOC Enforcement Guidance

A somewhat surprising decision in favor of the State of Texas was handed down from the Fifth Circuit Court of Appeals on June 27, 2016, which held that (i) Texas had standing to challenge the Equal Employment Opportunity Commission’s (EEOC) Enforcement Guidance on the Consideration of Arrest and Conviction Records in Employment Decisions Under Title VII of the Civil Rights Act of 1964 (the Guidance) and (ii) the Guidance is a “final agency action” for the purposes of the Administrative Procedures Act (APA). State of Texas v. EEOC, No. 14-10949, Fifth Circuit Court of Appeals (June 27, 2016).

Connecticut Passes Ban-the-Box Legislation

On June 1, 2016, Connecticut Governor Dannel P. Malloy signed into law a “ban-the-box” statute, which will take effect on January 1, 2017. The law, “An Act Concerning Fair Chance Employment,” Public Act No. 16-83, prohibits covered employers from inquiring about a prospective employee’s prior arrests, criminal charges, or convictions on an initial employment application.

Vermont Passes “Ban the Box” Legislation

On May 3, 2016, Vermont Governor Peter Shumlin signed into law a “ban the box” statute, which will take effect on July 1, 2017. The law will prohibit covered employers from inquiring about information pertaining to an individual’s criminal history record on an initial employment application. The law does, however, allow an employer to inquire about an applicant’s criminal history record (i) during a job interview or (ii) once the applicant has been deemed otherwise qualified for the position.

A Closer Look at Austin’s “Ban the Box” Ordinance

On March 24, 2016, the Austin City Council passed a “ban-the-box” ordinance, the Fair Chance Hiring Ordinance, which took effect on April 4, 2016. The final version of the ordinance was released on April 12, 2016. It prohibits covered employers from inquiring about an individual’s criminal history information, including running background checks, until after a conditional offer of employment has been made.