Thursday, November 04, 2010

"Ban the Box" Effective Today

Except in limited circumstances, Massachusetts employers may no longer ask about criminal history on initial job applications, under MGL c.151B, s.4 (9-1/2) as added by St.2010, c.256, s.101

The new law reads:
It shall be an unlawful practice: 
"9½. For an employer to request on its initial written application form criminal offender record information; provided, however, that except as otherwise prohibited by subsection 9, an employer may inquire about any criminal convictions on an applicant’s application form if: (i) the applicant is applying for a position for which any federal or state law or regulation creates mandatory or presumptive disqualification based on a conviction for 1 or more types of criminal offenses; or (ii) the employer or an affiliate of such employer is subject to an obligation imposed by any federal or state law or regulation not to employ persons, in either 1 or more positions, who have been convicted of 1 or more types of criminal offenses."

A brief history of "ban the box" is available from The Defenders Online. A clear explanation of the Massachusetts law and practical tips for implementation can be found in McDermott, Will & Emery's newsletter