Colorado Bill Impacts Using Juvenile Court Records

Businesses and individuals continue to deal with the economic impact of the COVID-19 pandemic. Governments all over the country found quick fixes for immediate needs. But now, some work to deal with the long-term effects. On May 6, 2022, the Colorado legislature passed a bill to help with some recovery in the state’s economy.

Colorado House Bill 22-1383 points to juvenile offender job skills training and opportunities as one solution to assist with pandemic recovery. The bill states, “Juvenile adjudications can negatively impact employment opportunities, and it is an important expansion of state policy that juvenile records do not impact employment decisions.” To limit these issues, the bill will restrict using juvenile criminal records for employment decisions in most cases.

Pending Restrictions in Colorado

The bill language explains the need for the law further, stating,

“In creating employment opportunities for youth with involvement in the juvenile justice system, this act seeks to minimize hiring discrimination based on an applicant’s past involvement in the juvenile justice system.”

Once in effect, it will be illegal for most public and private employers to ask candidates or employees, of any age, to disclose certain information related to juvenile criminal history, with some exceptions. This includes details pertaining to juveniles:

  • Arrests
  • Detentions
  • Diversion plans
  • Supervision
  • Adjudication
  • Dispositions

Candidates or employees of any age are not required to disclose juvenile criminal history, even if an employer asks.

Exclusions to the restrictions are allowed for screening candidates or employees that have direct contact with vulnerable individuals, or the screening of candidates or employees required by licensed childcare centers pursuant to state law.

Additionally, suppose a candidate or employee has been adjudicated for committing a delinquent act in a juvenile proceeding. In that case, that information cannot be used as a basis for denying employment or taking adverse action against an otherwise-qualified candidate.

The Governor signed the bill on June 3, 2022. If a referendum petition is not filed, the law will be effective on August 9, 2022, 90 days after the state’s legislator adjourned. Employers that hire in Colorado may want to review the bill language with their legal counsel to understand how it may impact their background check process.

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