On March 1, the Opportunity to Compete Act, also known as ‘Ban-the-Box’ went into effect. Under the new law, employers are prohibited from asking about an applicant’s criminal history on their employment applications, or from making any such inquiries or investigations until the conclusion of the “initial employment application process.” Continue reading
For the past two years, the New Jersey Civil Justice Institute (NJCJI) has been involved in negotiations over the Opportunity to Compete Act, or so-called ‘Ban-the-Box’ legislation, which was signed into law today by Gov. Chris Christie.
A1999, which was sponsored by Senator Sandra Cunningham (D-31) and Assemblywoman Bonnie Watson Coleman (D-15), was of significant concern to NJCJI because of its implications for employer liability. However, thanks to Sen. Cunningham’s leadership and willingness to listen to the concerns of the business community, language drafted by NJCJI’s Alida Kass that addresses our liability concerns was included in the final law. As other states look to pass similar legislation, they should look to New Jersey’s law as a model of legislation that “bans the box” without raising liability concerns.
Two topics that have been in the news a lot lately – paid sick leave and efforts to ban employers from asking about an applicant’s criminal history on an initial job application – would also encourage individuals to seek redress from the courts instead of quickly resolving their dispute through regulatory channels.