NJ Senate Committee Approves Bill Restricting Early Inquiries Into Job Applicants’ Criminal Record

A New Jersey Senate Committee has Okayed a measure that would restrict potential employers from asking for a prospective employee’s criminal record in initial job applications and interviews.

If passed by the New Jersey Legislature, the Opportunity to Compete Act (OCA) seeks to eliminate the instant disqualification for job consideration that many experience when they answer “yes” to the job application question, “Have you ever been convicted of a crime?”

Employers would still be allowed to inquire about or check into a potential employee’s background, but only after a conditional offer of employment has been made. The employer would be required to obtain consent from the potential employee and provide a notice of intent before conducting a criminal background check.

Studies conducted by the American Academy of Political and Social Science have shown that those with criminal records are 50 percent less likely to be offered a job or a receive a call back interview. The nonprofit New Jersey Institute for Social Justice supports the bill, while business and industry groups oppose it, contending that it would impose undue restrictions on hiring practices.

The measure provides for civil fines to be levied against companies that violate the law. Those penalties could range from $1,000 to $10,000, depending on the number of infractions a company has made.

Law enforcement agencies and schools are exempt from the bill.

The measure passed in the committee by a 9-1 vote.

The criminal defense attorneys at Lubiner, Schmidt & Palumbo in New Jersey believe that those who have been convicted of a crime should be allowed to get on with their lives once they have paid their debt to society. The documented fact that those convicted of crimes have such a difficult finding employment indicates how important it is to have a knowledgeable and experienced attorney on your side if you have been accused of a crime.

If you need help with your case, don’t hesitate to call us at (888) 847-2529 or contact us online for a free review of your case today.