Colorado’s “ban the box” law went into effect for employers with at least 11 employees, and it will apply to all employers in the state on September 1, 2021. These laws prevent employers from asking potential hires about their criminal history on applications, essentially banning the once-widely-used checkbox people marked to disclose their status as a former convict.
The New Law in Colorado
Like similar laws found in other states, Colorado’s “ban the box” legislative move is aimed at reducing under-employment among those with criminal histories. Any involvement with the criminal justice system can make it more difficult for a person to get a job, which creates a barrier to housing and their transition back to society.
Colorado’s law is not as restrictive as some other states, but it does bar employers from mentioning that individuals with criminal histories should not apply to job ads and employment applications. It also prevents employers from asking about or requiring the disclosure of a person’s criminal history on the initial application or during a job interview (if the criminal history is sealed or expunged from their record). Keep in mind that while an employer can’t ask about criminal history on an application, they can still run a criminal background check on an employee at any time. This means some employers in Colorado may ask for permission to run a criminal background check on an application instead.
If you feel you are being treated in an illegal manner by a prospective employer over your criminal history, contact a lawyer to ensure your rights are protected. However, keep in mind that if your complaint relates solely to a violation of the new “ban the box” law, you must take the matter to the Colorado Department of Labor.
Finding a Job with Previous Convictions
Although this new law was created with good intentions, its lack of restrictions means many people with past convictions will still struggle to find a job in Colorado. Since employers are still allowed to run criminal background checks, some applicants will still be left out of the consideration pool after initial contact with a potential employer.
In some cases, people can have a conviction expunged or sealed, making it less likely an employer will see it. Whether this applies to you depends on your conviction, so speak to a criminal lawyer in Denver, CO for help. If you were arrested but were never charged with a crime, or you were charged but never convicted, you have a good chance of having your records sealed.
Whether you think you can have your conviction sealed or expunged, be aware that it is a process that must go through the court. Your attorney will help you with completing the paperwork and fulfilling other legal requirements. If getting your record sealed or expunged is not an option in your case, you can still try to position yourself for job search success. Do some research so you don’t waste time and unnecessary frustration by applying for jobs that your conviction will disqualify you from. Network with friends, family, and other people; you may just land a job you would not have otherwise found this way.
Thanks to the Law Office of Richard J. Banta, P.C. for their insight into getting a job despite having a criminal history.