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New Jersey Joins Ban the Box Movement

On Monday, August 11th, New Jersey became the newest state to join the Ban the Box movement. The NJ Opportunity to Compete Act (A1999), which was signed into law this past week, becomes effective March 1, 2015.

Under the new law, employers with 15 or more employees who do business, employ persons, or take applications for employment within the state of New Jersey will be prohibited from asking any questions (whether oral or written) about an applicant’s criminal record during the initial application process. Employers may inquire into criminal history only after the first interview has been conducted.

NJ employers must also comply with all relevant state and federal laws, rules and regulations in regard to the use of criminal records in employment decisions. Only after following all of the new provisions may employers refuse to hire an applicant based on criminal history. Employers may not consider records that have been expunged or erased through executive pardon.

The new law also prohibits NJ employers from publishing any advertisement for employment that explicitly states that the employer will not consider persons who have been arrested or convicted of one or more crimes.

There are some exceptions, including law enforcement, homeland security, the judiciary, the Department of Corrections, emergency management, and other positions that require a criminal history check by law.

An employer who violates this law shall be held liable for a civil penalty not to exceed $1,000 for the first violation, $5,000 for the second violation, and $10,000 for each subsequent violation.

This notice is for informational purposes only and is not the full text of the Bill. For more information, please refer to NJ A1999 (make highlighted text click to:

Ban the Box Scorecard
Ban the Box States/Private Employers: 5 (HI, IL, MA, MN, RI)
Ban the Box States/Public Employers: 8 (CA, DE, HI, MA, MN, NE, NM, RI)
Ban the Box States/State Employers: 3 (CO, CT, MD) Cities/Counties (private or public): 60


Most recent: San Francisco Fair Chance Ordinance 17-14 (became operative 8/13/14 and impacts private employers with more than 20 employees in the City of San Francisco)

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