Special Announcement to all State of Vermont employers:
On May 3, 2016, the Governor for the State of Vermont signed H-261. This law, effective 07/01/17, will restrict employers in the state from asking about criminal record information.
Under the law, the following section is added to Sec. 1. 21 V.S.A. § 495:
§ 495j. CRIMINAL HISTORY RECORDS; EMPLOYMENT APPLICATIONS
(a)Except as provided in subsection (b) of this section, an employer shall not request criminal history record information on its initial employee application form. An employer may inquire about a prospective employee’s criminal history record during an interview or once the prospective employee has been deemed otherwise qualified for the position.
(b)(1) An employer may inquire about criminal convictions on an initial employee application form if the following conditions are met:
(A)(i) the prospective employee is applying for a position for which any federal or State law or regulation creates a mandatory or presumptive disqualification based on a conviction for one or more types of criminal offenses; or
(ii) the employer or an affiliate of the employer is subject to an obligation imposed by any federal or State law or regulation not to employ an individual, in either one or more positions, who has been convicted of one or more types of criminal offenses; and
(B) the questions on the application form are limited to the types of criminal offenses creating the disqualification or obligation.
(2) An employer shall be permitted to inquire about criminal convictions on an initial employee application form pursuant to subdivision (1) of this subsection even if the federal or State law or regulation creating an obligation for the employer or its affiliate not to employ an individual who has been convicted of one or more types of criminal offenses also permits the employer or its affiliate to obtain a waiver that would allow the employer or its affiliate to employ such an individual.
(c) If an employer inquires about a prospective employee’s criminal history record information, the prospective employee, if still eligible for the position under applicable federal or State law, must be afforded an opportunity to explain the information and the circumstances regarding any convictions, including post-conviction rehabilitation.
The full text of this ordinance is available here – General Assembly of the State of Vermont: H-261
This law will require a review of the hiring process in place and may require changes to that process.
Justifacts recommends that you consult with your legal department to determine what changes, if any, need to be made to your hiring process in order to comply with this law.
It is important to note that Justifacts is providing this information as a service to our clients. None of the information contained herein should be construed as legal advice, nor is Justifacts engaged to provide legal advice. Although we go to great lengths to make sure our information is accurate and useful, we recommend you consult your attorney or legal department if you want assurance that our information, and your interpretation of it, is appropriate to your particular situation.