2019 was an active year for Colorado legislature. With the Democrats winning both the state House and Senate, as well as the Governorship, it seemed as though any and every bill would easily get passed. Many did, but there is one in particular that you need to be aware of as it may affect you.
Ban the Box. You may have heard this in the media lately, particularly since a total of thirteen states (plus Washington D.C.) have implemented the law. Colorado is now one of them. Here is what you need to know to ensure you are in compliance:
You may no longer:
- Advertise or place a statement on an employment application that a person with a criminal history need not apply.
- Inquire details about an applicant’s criminal history on an employment application.
You are exempt if:
- The law prohibits you from employing a person with a particular criminal history for a particular job.
- You are an employer who participates in a program that employs people with a criminal history.
- You are required by law to conduct a criminal history check for a particular position.
The idea behind “ban the box” is that when an ex-offender sees that they won’t be hired due to their criminal history, they won’t bother applying and will then be more likely to re-offend. The purpose of the law is to allow ex-offenders to display their qualification and skills before the employer asks about their criminal record. If an employer thinks the person may be a good fit before finding out about their criminal history, they may be open to still hire the person even after finding out. Particularly if the offense would have no effect on them being able to do the job.
So, what does this mean for you as a small business owner? First, it does not mean that you are required to hire people with a criminal history. You are still allowed to verbally ask the question in an interview or conduct a background check. Background checks are extremely important for any position that handles sensitive information or expensive products. You will always want to be aware of any possible danger you could be putting your business into, as well as be as educated as possible when making a hiring decision.
If you are an employer of 11 or more employees, this law went into effect on September 1, 2019.
If you have 10 or fewer employees, this law will go into effect on September 1, 2021.