By: Douglas KleinFollowing updated federal guidance from the EEOC last April concerning limits on employers’ use of arrest and conviction records when making employment decisions, Newark has taken matters into its own hands passing a new ordinance which restricts Newark employers’ ability to consider criminal records when making hiring decisions. Beginning November 18, 2012, Newark employers with five or more employees will be limited in their ability to conduct criminal background checks on applicants. Going forward, covered employers may not make any criminal background inquiries, whether orally or in writing, prior to extending a conditional offer of employment. If a conditional offer is extended, employers may make narrow criminal background inquiries, and only if there has been a “good faith determination” that criminal history is relevant based on the sensitivity of the position, the employer has provided the candidate with advance written notice of the background check, and the candidate has agreed to the check in writing. Even if these preconditions are met, Newark employers may only inquire into certain criminal history, including:
- indictable offense convictions for eight years following sentencing;
- disorderly persons convictions or municipal ordinance violations for five years following sentencing;
- pending criminal charges, including cases that have been continued without a finding until the case is dismissed;
- convictions for murder, voluntary manslaughter, and sex offenses requiring registry punishable by a term of incarceration in state prison, regardless of the length of time that has passed since disposition.