From March 2015, employers in New Jersey will no longer be able to inquire about the criminal background of a potential employee at the outset of the recruitment process. Signed by Chris Christie, the Governor of NJ, the law would be applicable to all public and private commercial establishments with a work force of more than 15 members.
Pursuant to the new legislation, employers will have to revise the documents that seek information from candidates and remove all boxes pertaining to arrests and criminal involvement that had to be checked. However, the restriction will only hold till the first interview. If this round is cleared by a candidate, the employer would then be able to ask about his/her criminal history.
In addition to this, the law will prohibit the issue of job listings which clearly state that applicants with a criminal record /arrests will not be considered. Standing in violation of the law would attract significant penalties, with a fine of $1000 imposed on the first violation. For subsequent infractions of the nature, employers would incur penalties of $5000 and $10,000.
Those in favor of the new law said that it is a stride in the right direction to curb the risk of recidivism and offer a better chance of employment to those who have already paid for their misdoings, and are now trying to reenter the community as reformed citizens.