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Colorado Ban the Box

June 21st, 2019 | Joe Rotondo, Vice President of Compliance, Sterling

View of the Denver Civic Centre

Gov. Jared Polis signed legislation (HB19-1025) making Colorado the 13th state to prohibit private employers from asking about criminal history on initial job applications.

The law, also known as “ban the box” legislation, is meant to prevent former criminals from automatically being ruled out as potential employees. “Ban the box” refers to the box on job applications where applicants must reveal if they have been convicted of a crime. California, Connecticut, Hawaii, Illinois, Massachusetts, Minnesota, New Jersey, New Mexico, Oregon, Rhode Island, Vermont and Washington have passed similar “Ban the Box” laws.

The legislation, which will go into effect in September 2019 for employers with 11 or more employees and in September 2021 for all employers, applies to both the public and private sector.

Employers can, however, run background checks and are exempt from the new guidelines if the law prohibits a person from holding a position if they have a certain criminal background. Employers are also exempt if they are required by law to conduct a criminal history record check for a particular position.

Colorado employers will be prohibited from:

  • Stating in an employment advertisement that a person with a criminal record may not apply for the position
  • Stating on any form or application for employment that a person with a criminal history may not apply for the position
  • Inquiring into or requiring an applicant to disclose any criminal history on an initial employment application

The above listed prohibitions will not apply if:

  • Federal, state or local law or regulations prohibit employing a person with a specific criminal record to the position
  • The position is designated by the employer to participate in a federal, state or local government program to encourage the employment of people with criminal histories
  • The employer is required by federal, state or local law or regulation to conduct a criminal background check for the position, regardless of whether the position is for an employee or an independent contractor

The full text of the ordinance can be found here.

The information contained herein is for informational purposes only. Clients are encouraged to consult with their legal counsel on the impact of this new law. Sterling is not a law firm and none of the information contained in this notice is intended as legal advice.

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.