New Jersey Governor Chris Christie has signed the Opportunity to Compete Act, also known as “Ban the Box” legislation. The law will go into effect March 1, 2015 and applies to New Jersey employers with 15 or more employees. Under the law, employers may not post job advertisements indicating that people that have been arrested or convicted of a crime will not be considered for a job position. Employers are also not allowed to require prospective employees to complete a job application that requires disclosure of their criminal history. However, employers may request criminal history before making a job offer after initial application process. Certain positions which by law, rule or regulation may not be held by people with convictions or arrests are exempt.
To stay compliant, New Jersey employers need to review and revise their employment applications and any job advertisements that request criminal history information. Penalties for noncompliance include $1,000 for the first violation, $5,000 for the second violation, and $10,000 for subsequent violations.