Connecticut is the most recent state to “ban the box,” joining a minority of states with similar laws (thirteen and counting). Beginning January 1, 2017, Connecticut employers will be prohibited from asking questions about an employee’s prior arrests and criminal charges or convictions on an initial application form.

There are two limited exceptions to Connecticut’s “ban the box” rule: (1) if state or federal law requires the employer to ask questions about an employee’s criminal history, and (2) if a security, fidelity or equivalent bond is required for the position that the employee is applying for. If one of the exceptions applies, an employer may ask about an employee’s criminal history but must include certain disclaimers on the initial application, such as if an employee’s criminal record was erased pursuant to state law, the employee may answer that he/she has never been arrested, criminally charged or convicted.

Nothing in the law prohibits employers from asking about employees’ criminal histories other than on the initial application form. That means that employers may inquire into employees’ prior arrests and criminal charges or convictions at any stage of the interview process after the initial application.

Significantly, any violation of this rule is subject to a complaint with the state’s Labor Commissioner, but not a lawsuit.

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