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Incoming Employment Reform

Published:  October 5, 2018

Back in May 2018, we wrote that Governor Baker had signed new criminal justice reform legislation that had significant effects on Massachusetts’ ‘Ban the Box” regulations. Among other things, it shortened the time for sealing off criminal records depending on the offense (three years for misdemeanors and seven years for felonies); raises the minimum age of criminal responsibility from 7 to 12 years old; decriminalizes some minor offenses for those who are juveniles; changes the way bail, fines and fees are imposed to take into account an individual’s ability to pay; raises the threshold at which theft is considered a felony, and requires more humane conditions for inmates in solitary confinement. This bill has been a huge step forward for the Massachusetts criminal justice system.

The reforms will have important effects on employers, specifically what can and cannot be asked in a criminal background check. Employers are now prohibited from asking about any misdemeanor conviction that occurred more than three years in the past. This time frame used to be five years. Employers are also prohibited from asking about criminal records that have been sealed or expunged. The new law also requires specific notice language for any employer inquiring into criminal records during the hiring process.

These reforms go into effect on October 13, 2018, so it is a good time to ensure you will be compliant when the time comes.

 

If you have any questions regarding any aspect of employment law, please contact the attorneys at Royal, P.C.

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