New Jersey “Ban the Box” changes hiring policies



Written by ESR News Blog Editor Thomas Ahearn

On September 30, 2021, the New Jersey Attorney General’s Office and the New Jersey Department of Labor and Workforce Development announcement that fifteen companies had agreed to stop including references to applicants’ criminal backgrounds in their job postings and to make changes to their hiring practices following the largest “Ban the Box” application sweep »Never performed under “Competitive Opportunity Act”.

According to joint statement: “Competition law reduces barriers to employment for people with criminal records by, among other things, prohibiting covered employers from inquiring about a candidate’s criminal history during the initial application process. employment and prohibiting them from indicating in job advertisements that applicants will not be considered if they have a criminal record.

New Jersey’s “Ban the Box” law – which came into effect in 2015 – prohibits employers with 15 or more employees from requiring a job seeker to complete any forms during the “initial application process” that asks about his criminal record, and also prohibits an employer from making any investigation into a candidate’s criminal record during the initial application process, which ends when the employer has conducted an initial interview.

Besides, “The Opportunity to Compete Act” Prohibits New Jersey employers from soliciting candidates for jobs through advertisements stating that the employer will not consider anyone with a criminal record, with some exceptions. The Act is designed to help people with a criminal history re-enter the community, become productive members of the workforce, and support themselves and their families.

Three of the fifteen companies with agreements with the state entered into voluntary compliance assurances after the Department of Labor and Workforce Development found they had broken the law and issued notices to them of violation. The fifteen companies were found to have violated the ban on the law on the use of language in job advertisements which explicitly states that the employer will not consider ex-offenders.

“Here in New Jersey, we believe that a criminal record should not be a permanent obstacle to employment, and that once you have paid your debt to the company, you are entitled to a fair reward when you are looking for work, “the acting prosecutor said. General Andrew J. Bruck explained in the joint statement. “With the enforcement sweep we’re announcing today, we’re sending a clear message to employers that they must comply with the law.”

As of October 2021, states with “Ban the Box” laws include Arizona, California, Colorado, Connecticut, Delaware, Georgia, Hawaii, Illinois, Indiana, Kansas, Kentucky, Louisiana, Maine, Maryland, Massachusetts, Michigan, Minnesota, Missouri, Nebraska, Nevada, New Jersey, New Mexico, New York, North Carolina, North Dakota, Ohio, Oklahoma, Oregon, Pennsylvania , Rhode Island, Tennessee, Utah, Vermont, Virginia, Washington and Wisconsin.

“Prohibit the Box” laws that remove the box from applicants with a criminal record are urged to verify applications and defer criminal background investigations until later in the hiring process to assist the candidate. estimated at 70 million ex-offenders in the United States, the work will continue to evolve, according to the world’s leading background check company, Employment Screening Resources® (ESR), which has compiled the “ESR Top Ten Background Check Trends” for 2021.

Employment Screening Resources® (ESR) – which was named the # 1 screening company by HRO Today in 2020 – offers a variety of free resources for applicants and employers, like a white paper on “Ten essential steps for ex-offenders to re-enter the labor market”, a “Ban the Box Resource Guide”, and a Ban the Box resource page with an interactive map updated with the latest laws. To learn more about ESR, visit

NOTE: Employment Screening Resources® (ESR) does not provide or offer legal services or legal advice of any kind. All information on this website is for educational purposes only.

© 2021 Employment Screening Resources® (ESR) – You may not copy or use any part of the ESR News blog or the ESR website for any purpose other than your personal use, without the prior written permission of ESR.


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