Pennsylvania Clean Slate Expansion

March 15th, 2024 | Chris Christian, Director of Compliance

Pennsylvania recently passed changes to their existing “Clean Slate” act employer criminal background screening practices related to expunged records. 


On December 14, 2023, Pennsylvania’s House Bill 689 (HB 689) was signed into law which amended Pennsylvania’s existing Clean Slate law, enacted in 2019, which is related to the expungement of certain types of criminal records and employer immunity when considering hiring individuals with expunged records. The effective date is February 12, 2024. 

HB689 made several key changes impacting employers when hiring individuals with expunged records. First, the new amendments expand the automatic expungement of records to unconditional pardons. The Pennsylvania Board of Pardons must notify the Administrative Office of Pennsylvania Courts (AOPC) on a quarterly basis of any pardons, and then requires the AOPC to notify the relevant Court of Common Pleas to order the record expunged. 

Second, the law expands eligibility to allow certain individuals who may petition for an order of limited access status of their criminal records. Qualifying individuals who are free from conviction for seven years (previously ten years) and meet certain requirements can petition for limited access.  The reduced waiting applies to misdemeanor offenses.  The law also clarifies categories of offenses that are and are not eligible for limited access petitions. 

Third, the law indicates that, except if required by Federal law, criminal record information that has been expunged or provided limited access may not be used by any individual or noncriminal justice agency for employment, housing or school matriculation proposes. 

Last, if an individual voluntarily discloses their criminal history record information to an employer, the employer shall be immune from liability for any claims related to the employer’s lawful use or consideration of the criminal history record information in connection with any employment decision. 

Take Aways 

Employers should consider reviewing and updating their background screening policies and practices. Employers cannot use records that are expunged, pardoned, or granted limited access unless the employer is required by Federal law to use such records. Employers should review with legal counsel to determine if they qualify under the law’s exemption provision. Employers should also consider the impacts other clean slate laws have such on certain types of criminal records that may no longer be available for consideration.  Employers are encouraged to work with legal counsel before changing their background screening policies and practices. 

The Information contained herein is for informational purposes only. Sterling is not a law firm, and none of the information contained in this notice is intended as legal advice. Clients are encouraged to consult with their legal counsel about the impacts of any requirements. This and other important legislative updates can be found on the Sterling website: 

Sterling is not a law firm. This publication is for informational purposes only and nothing contained in it should be construed as legal advice. We expressly disclaim any warranty or responsibility for damages arising out this information. We encourage you to consult with legal counsel regarding your specific needs. We do not undertake any duty to update previously posted materials.