Governor Patrick recently signed new legislation that will change the way Massachusetts employers can use criminal background information in making employment decisions. Most significantly, the new legislation prohibits employers with six (6) or more employees from asking applicants about any criminal information, including criminal convictions, on an “initial written job application.” The only exception to this prohibition is where either state or federal law dictates that conviction(s) result in presumptive or mandatory disqualification for the job. This prohibition is a change from existing law which permits employers to ask about felony convictions and certain misdemeanor convictions on a job application.
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