On May 19, 2014, the Senate introduced two (essentially identical) bills (S2101 and S2102) that would prohibit public and private employers from automatically rejecting current or prospective employees based on their criminal record. The bill, which is largely patterned after New York Correction Law 23-A, would prohibit rejection of an applicant based on criminal history unless the employer found that (1) there was a direct relationship between one of the criminal offenses and the specific employment sought; or (2) granting employment would create an unreasonable risk to specific individuals or the general public. Before reaching such a conclusion, the bill would require employers to consider at least eight specific factors, including the specific duties and responsibilities, the bearing the crime will have on the employee’s fitness for duty, the time lapse between the occurrence of the crime and the application for employment, the age of the applicant when the crime was committed, and the seriousness of the offense (among others). The bill has been referred to the Senate Law and Public Safety Committee.
Note: This article was also published in the July 17, 2014 issue of the New Jersey eAuthority