Effective November 18, 2012, employers that have five or more employees, and do business or take applications for employment within the City of Newark, are generally prohibited from conducting criminal history inquiries on applicants prior to a determination that the candidate is otherwise qualified for the position and has received a conditional offer of employment. Moreover, even after a candidate has received a conditional offer of employment, employers are prohibited from conducting a criminal inquiry on a candidate unless the employer has made a good faith determination that the position is of such sensitivity to warrant a criminal history inquiry. In addition, the ordinance requires an employer to conduct an individualized analysis of the applicant’s criminal record in light of the position sought before rejecting the applicant based on a criminal record. The ordinance also requires employers to provide written notice to the candidate, and obtain authorization, prior to conducting any criminal history inquiry, and to provide the applicant with a form stating the reason for the rejection and giving the applicant an opportunity to respond. Several bills are pending in the New Jersey Legislature that contain similar provisions, but not nearly as extensive as those enacted in Newark. For a detailed article on this ordinance, click here.
Note: This article was published in the October 2012 issue of the New Jersey eAuthority.