New limitations on criminal history background checks will go into effect on October 13, 2018. Massachusetts employers will be prohibited from asking applicants or employees about an expanded number of offenses and will also be required to include certain statutorily-mandated language in written requests for criminal information.
Since 1969, Massachusetts has set limits on the questions that employers may ask job applicants or employees about their criminal histories. In addition, with the enactment of the “ban the box” legislation in 2010, Massachusetts has also restricted the timing of permissible criminal history inquiries until after an applicant has completed an initial written job application.
The amendments modify existing law in three ways:
An applicant for employment with a record expunged pursuant to section 100F, section 100G, section 100H or section 100K of chapter 276 may answer ‘no record’ with respect to an inquiry herein relative to prior arrests, criminal court appearances or convictions. An applicant for employment with a record expunged pursuant to section 100F, section 100G, section 100H or section 100K of chapter 276 may answer ‘no record’ to an inquiry herein relative to prior arrests, criminal court appearances, juvenile court appearances, adjudications or convictions.
There are no other changes affecting employment practices, and Massachusetts employers will continue to be restricted from asking about arrests that do not result in convictions or about first convictions for drunkenness, simple assault, speeding, minor traffic violations, affray, or disturbance of the peace.
Employers should make sure that their hiring forms are revised to comply with the new requirements and that persons involved in the hiring process understand the new limitations on criminal history inquiries.
If you have any questions about the information presented in this alert, or would like to know more about how Prince Lobel can assist you in revising your company’s hiring forms or practices, please contact Laurie Rubin, the author of this alert, at 617.456.8020 or firstname.lastname@example.org, or Daniel Tarlow, the chair of the Employment Law Group, at 617.456.8013 or email@example.com.