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Connecticut Becomes the Ninth State to "Ban the Box"

On June 1, 2016, Connecticut Governor Dannel Malloy signed Public Act No. 16-83, “An Act Concerning Fair Chance Employment” (“Act”), making Connecticut the ninth state—after Hawaii, Illinois, Massachusetts, Minnesota, New Jersey, Oregon, Rhode Island, and Vermont—to “ban the box” on job applications for private employers in those states. The Act, which covers any employer engaged in business in Connecticut that has one or more employees, goes into effect on January 1, 2017.

The Act prohibits employers from making any inquiry about an applicant's prior arrests, criminal charges, or convictions “on an initial employment application.” The Act does not apply, however, (1) when a state or federal law requires the employer to conduct criminal background inquiries, or (2) when a security or fidelity bond or an equivalent bond is required for the position for which the applicant is seeking employment. Unlike some other ban-the-box legislation that prohibits inquiry into an applicant’s criminal history until the first interview, or even until after a conditional offer is made, the Act merely restricts inquiries “on an initial employment application.” The term “initial employment application” is not defined in the Act, but the Connecticut Department of Labor (“DOL”) appears to interpret the term literally—meaning the employment application itself.

The Act does not provide a private cause of action for aggrieved applicants or employees. Applicants and employees may file complaints with the DOL’s Commissioner.

What Employers Should Do Now

In anticipation of the January 1, 2017, effective date, employers in Connecticut should:

  • Revise job applications used in Connecticut, and unless an exception applies,  remove questions concerning an applicant’s prior arrests, criminal charges, or criminal conviction history; and

  • Train managers and recruiters not to inquire about an applicant’s criminal history until after the initial employment application has been submitted.

©2020 Epstein Becker & Green, P.C. All rights reserved.National Law Review, Volume VI, Number 197


About this Author

Peter M. Stein, Epstein Becker Green, National Employer Representation,

PETER M. STEIN is a Member of the Firm in the Labor and Employment practice of Epstein Becker Green. Based in the firm's Stamford office, where he serves as the Managing Shareholder, he represents both national and regional employers in all aspects of labor and employment law.

Susan Gross Sholinsky, Labor Employment Attorney, Epstein Becker Green Law Firm
Member of the Firm

SUSAN GROSS SHOLINSKY is a Member of the Firm in the Labor and Employment practice, in the New York office of Epstein Becker Green. She counsels clients on a variety of matters, in a practical and straightforward manner, with an eye toward reducing the possibility of employment-related claims. In 2013, Ms. Sholinsky was named to theNew York Metro Rising Stars list in the area of Employment & Labor.

Alexandra Bruno Carlo, New York, Epstein Becker, Labor Litigation Lawyer,

ALEXANDRA BRUNO CARLO is an Associate in the Employment, Labor & Workforce Management practice, in the New York office of Epstein Becker Green.

Ms. Bruno Carlo:

  • Advises clients on various labor and employment law topics, including antidiscrimination policies; the impact of misclassification of independent contractors; laws pertaining to parental leaves, sick leaves, and family leaves; ADEA compliance; and FMLA compliance

  • Counsels employers on practices...