On June 1, Connecticut Governor Dan Mallory signed the Fair Chance Employment Act (CT HB 5237) into law.  The statute, like other “ban the box” laws nationwide, prohibits covered employers from asking about an applicant’s criminal history on an initial employment application. 

Under the Act, “employers” are broadly defined to mean “any person engaged in business who has one or more employees, including the state or any political subdivision of the state.”

There are two exceptions to the Act – for when a criminal history inquiry is required by state or federal law, and for when a security or fidelity bond is required for the position.  After the initial interview stage, employers remain free to inquire about criminal history.  Notably, the law does not provide applicants with a private right of action against an employer, and complaints must be directed to the Connecticut Labor Commissioner’s Office.

The new law will become effective on January 1, 2017.  Connecticut is now the ninth state to enact “ban the box” legislation that extends to the private sector.  Many other municipalities, including New York City, have enacted similar legislation. 

Troutman Sanders has extensive experience in counseling companies on background screening compliance, including in “ban the box” jurisdictions.