Persons with Criminal History Have Right to Rejoin the Workforce

From the moment an employer decides to hire their first employee, labor laws and regulations kick in. Were you aware that Governor Polis recently signed new Colorado legislation giving those with criminal backgrounds a better chance to compete for a job in the workforce? By connecting with Payroll Vault’s HR support team, you will be advised when new laws and regulations are passed that affect your workforce and your operations.

This law (HB 19-1025) took effect September 1, 2019 and affects all employers with at least 11 employees. (Those with fewer than 11 employees will have until September 2021 to comply.) Colorado is the 13th state to prohibit employers from asking about criminal history on initial job applications. This new law, known as “ban the box” legislation, prohibits employers from:

  • Advertising that a person with a criminal history may not apply for a position
  • Placing a statement in an employment application that a person with a criminal history may not apply for a position
  • Inquiring about an applicant’s criminal history on an initial application

Employers can, however, obtain a job applicant’s publicly available criminal background report at any time and it does not prohibit employers from conducting background checks post-employment offer. An employer is exempt from the restrictions on advertising and initial employment applications when the law prohibits a person who has a particular criminal history from being employed in a particular job, (i.e. banks couldn’t hire someone convicted of embezzlement).

Colorado employers should review their employment applications and hiring processes to ensure they fit within the scope of the new law. Contact Payroll Vault-Fort Collins to learn more about our HR services and how they can help you stay in compliance.