Starting January 1, 2017, Connecticut employers will be prohibited from asking about an applicant’s prior arrests, criminal charges or convictions on an initial employment application. An employer is defined as “any person engaged in business who has one or more employees, including the state or any political subdivision of the state.” Under the enacted H.B. 5237, a covered employer cannot deny employment to an applicant who has had a prior arrest, criminal charge or conviction that has been erased from the records. Furthermore, employers cannot discharge or discriminate in any manner against an employee because he or she had a prior arrest, criminal charge or conviction that has been erased from the records. If an employee or applicant feels his or her rights were violated under the new law, the employee or applicant can file a complaint with the Labor Commissioner.
The only exemptions to inquiring about a prior arrest, criminal charges or convictions on an initial employment applicant is if the employer is required to do so by an applicable state or federal law or a security or fidelity bond or an equivalent bond is required for the position. To stay compliant, covered employers must review and revise their employment applications that request criminal history information.