By now, you have likely heard of “Ban the Box” laws. Typically enacted by state or local governments, these laws often prevent employers from asking about an applicant’s criminal history early in the hiring process. The ban the box movement has been gaining steam, with many jurisdictions passing these types of laws in recent years.
Colorado is the latest state to join the movement, passing its own version of a ban the box law earlier this year. Titled the “Colorado Chance to Compete Act,” the law went into effect on September 1, 2019 (for employers with 11 or more employees; the law will be effective for all employers September 1, 2021).
The Colorado Chance to Compete Act prohibits employers* from:
- Advertising that a person with a criminal history may not apply for a position;
- Placing a statement in an employment application that a person with a criminal history may not apply for a job; or
- Inquiring about or requiring disclosure of an applicant’s criminal history on an initial application.
To read the law, click here: House Bill 19-1025. For more information about the law from the Colorado legislature, click here: Limits on Job Applicant Criminal History Inquiries.
What could this mean for you? If you are required to comply with the new law, don’t indicate that individuals with criminal histories are not allowed to apply (either in advertisements for the job or in your employment applications). And don’t ask an applicant about their criminal history on an initial application. This law doesn’t mean that you can’t perform a background check on your applicants, but it could potentially mean that you need to perform your criminal record checks later in the hiring process.
Employer, as defined by the new law, includes “agents, representatives, and designees” of the employer. This is a broad definition that may include your employees acting on behalf of your company. It isn’t enough to make sure your employment applications and documents comply. You need to make sure your employees are aware of the law and comply with it as well.
As always, this is just a notification from Verified Credentials of changes to the legal landscape surrounding the hiring and background check process. It would be best if you always discussed any changes to your hiring process with your legal counsel to ensure you remain compliant with all laws.
* Certain employers are exempt from all or some of the law’s restrictions. For more information on this, click on the link to House Bill 19-1025 above.