Last week’s passage of “Ban the Box” legislation (House Bill 5237) requiring Connecticut public and private employers to remove questions on job applications concerning criminal conviction and arrest histories was a big-time victory for people whose employment prospects have been thwarted by decades-old criminal arrest records. If ratified by the Governor, then the law will go into effect on January 1, 2017. And while the Connecticut Ban the Box bill provides promise and hope among the best Connecticut criminal pardon lawyers, a closer look at the Bill reveals that the proposed legislation has little teeth, even less substance, and 3 critical problems that need to be challenged and rectified…
As the top employment, labor and criminal lawyers in Stamford and Greenwich Connecticut have noticed, while the Ban the Box law is certainly a step in the right direction, the law does not forbid or outlaw potential employers from verbally asking criminal history questions during your job interview. Nor does it stop them from asking you to fill out supplemental forms with as many questions as they wish on your prior arrests or prior convictions. So basically, your potential employer could have already run a background check on you prior to your face-to-face interview, and then blindside you with dozens of questions about a 20-year-old criminal conviction or an old Connecticut arrest which was dismissed, expunged and erased per Connecticut’s Erasure Law (which actually allows you to swear under oath that you’ve never been arrested). So if your Connecticut job interviewer saw your now-dismissed arrest published and reported online, they can still legally grill you on the arrest. (All the more reason to contact one of our Firm’s seasoned Connecticut internet scrubbing lawyers and attorneys to fight to get your dismissed Connecticut arrest off the internet and off Google searches).
Another problem that the top Connecticut pardon lawyers have pointed out about the proposed bill is that it really does not provide anyone aggrieved by a potential employer with a quick, affordable and appropriate remedy. Of course, the easiest fix to “Ban the Box” problems is hiring an experienced Connecticut pardon lawyer attorney to get your criminal history expunged. Short of that, this new Ban-the-Box law would be a game-changer, but the problem is that this new law has no teeth. All someone can do under the new legislation about a violation is report the Connecticut business to the Connecticut Department of Labor (“DOL”). The law, as presently drafted, does not provide a private cause of action in Connecticut Superior Court’s Civil Division. The law does not allow anyone damaged or denied a job opportunity because of a check-the-box criminal conviction or arrest question the chance to sue in Connecticut court for money damages, lost income, attorney’s fees or punitive damages. Sure, the Connecticut DOL may initiate a lawsuit, levy fines, or remedy the problem, but that takes years and it doesn’t do much for the person who lost out on the job.
Last complaint…there are two exceptions to banning the criminal arrest / conviction history box from Connecticut job application forms: first, if the employer is required to ask these questions by state or federal law, and second, if any kind of security, fidelity or money bond is required for the job opening at issue. In these cases, employers are permitted to keep this question on a job application and can require you to “check the box” on whether you have been arrested or convicted of any state or federal crime.
So if you are trying to find a job in Connecticut and are being haunted by old Connecticut convictions or arrests, then contact a Connecticut pardon or internet scrubbing lawyer attorney at Mark Sherman Law today. We appreciate how critical your online reputation and criminal history is, and understand the nuances of new employment laws like the Connecticut Ban-the-Box laws and how it can impact your employment prospects. So if you have criminal history and want to better understand your job-seeking rights, or want to file a pardon application in Connecticut, then contact a Connecticut criminal labor lawyer at Mark Sherman Law today. We can be reached at (203) 358-4700.