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New Jersey Ban the Box Law

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The Basics

Key Takeaways

  • Employers may not inquire about criminal history before an interview.
  • Employers can ask about criminal history if the applicant makes a voluntary disclosure.
  • The law prohibits postings and advertisements stating that applicants with criminal records will not be hired.

Who does this effect?

“Employer” means “any person, company, corporation, firm, labor organization, or association which has 15 or more employees over 20 calendar weeks and does business, employs persons, or takes applications for employment within” the State of New Jersey, “including the State, any county or municipality, or any instrumentality thereof.”

What does the law provide?

  • Criminal history information can be sought after an interview.
  • If an applicant voluntarily discloses information about his or her criminal record during the initial employment application process, the employer may “make inquiries regarding the applicant’s criminal record during the initial employment application.”
  • Employers may not “knowingly or purposefully publish, or cause to be published, any advertisement that solicits applicants for employment where that advertisement explicitly provides that the employer will not consider any applicant who has been arrested or convicted of one or more crimes or offenses.”

Are there any exceptions

Does not apply where (among others): a criminal history record background check is required by law, rule or regulation; an arrest or conviction by the person for one or more crimes or offenses would or may preclude the person from holding such employment as required by any law, rule or regulation; any law, rule or regulation restricts an employer’s ability to engage in specific business activities based on the criminal records of its employees. Employers should consult with their to see if they are otherwise exempt from the law.