NJBIA First Vice President David Brogan today issued the following statement on S-2124 (Cunningham, Lesniak, Ruiz), a revised “ban-the-box” bill under consideration by the Senate Budget and Appropriations Committee:
While NJBIA opposes S-2124, we thank the sponsors and the Governor for their hard work in creating a compromise bill that addresses many of the concerns of the business community. The bill, in its current form, is much less onerous than any previous version.
NJBIA’s goal during this process was to ensure that the bill would not:
- impact the smallest of employers;
- create unnecessary and burdensome regulatory requirements; or
- create unwarranted liability for employers.
On these three issues, the sponsors have addressed our concerns. Our main area of contention, however, is when the employer can inquire about an applicant’s criminal record. On this issue, we disagree.
Throughout the negotiating process, NJBIA has maintained that we would support a simple “ban-the-box” bill in which employment applications no longer ask about an applicant’s criminal background. This bill goes further in that it prohibits an employer from requesting information about an applicant’s criminal record until after the completion of the first interview.
NJBIA’s position was premised on the Equal Employment Opportunity Commission’s (EEOC) best practices as well as federal laws that do not restrict an employer’s ability to ask about an applicant’s criminal background.
This is a very difficult issue to address legislatively, and both the sponsor and the Governor should be lauded for their efforts.