New Jersey: Ban-the-Box Requirements Strengthened


All Employers with 15+ NJ Employees


December 20, 2017


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Originally effective on March 1, 2015, the New Jersey Opportunity to Compete Act (“OCTA”) prohibits employers of 15 or more employees working over 20 calendar weeks in New Jersey from making inquiries into an applicant’s criminal history during the initial application process, among other provisions. As of December 20, 2017, Senate Bill S-3306 applies new amendments to OCTA, further strengthening protections for applicants.

The OCTA amendment specifies that employers are prohibited from (1) soliciting information about an applicant’s current or expunged criminal record during the initial application phase, including when using online employment applications that require the disclosure of current or expunged criminal records in order to proceed with the application; and (2) performing online searches seeking criminal history information.  Employers may ask about current or expunged criminal records after the initial application process, but may not refuse to hire an applicant solely because a criminal record has been expunged or erased through executive pardon, with few exceptions.

Action Items

  1. Review the text of S-3306 here.
  2. Revise written or electronic employment applications to remove any questions pertaining to an applicant’s current or expunged criminal history.
  3. Have hiring personnel trained on the updated requirements.

Disclaimer: This document is designed to provide general information and guidance concerning employment-related issues. It is presented with the understanding that ManagEase is not engaged in rendering any legal opinions. If a legal opinion is needed, please contact the services of your own legal adviser.

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