What does the law ban?

The law bans questions about an applicant’s criminal history record on the initial employment application form.

Do I have to hire an applicant with a criminal history record?

No.  You are permitted to ask an applicant about a criminal history record during an interview or after the applicant has been found qualified for the job.  The law is not designed to force you to hire a person with a criminal record.  The law is designed so that promising candidates are not simply screened out in the initial application process.  You must follow the procedure.

What happens if a candidate informs us about his or her criminal history record after the initial application process?

He or she must be given a chance to explain the circumstances that resulted in the criminal history record and to describe any post-conviction rehabilitation before you decide whether to make an offer.  The exception is if a federal or state law prevents you from hiring the applicant.

Are all employers covered?

There is an exception: If a federal or state law bans hiring persons with a criminal history record for the job, then the question can be asked on the initial application. However, if that federal or state law bans only specific types of criminal offenses, then the application can only ask about those offenses.

What’s the penalty for violating the law? 

The law provides for a $100 civil penalty per violation.  In addition, the Vermont Attorney General may seek a court order to compel compliance with the law . Employers who retaliate against employees who oppose or report violations of the law may also be subject to a private or Attorney General lawsuit for damages.

Finally, violations might also be used as evidence show other violations, such as race discrimination. 

Here is the complete Ban the Box statute. Special thanks to Attorney Heather Rider Hammond and AAG Julio Thompson for their expertise.

Published: May 31, 2017 | Disclaimer