On August 11, 2014, New Jersey Governor, Chris Christie, signed into law the “New Jersey Opportunity to Compete Act” (hereinafter, the “Act”). This new legislation will change the employment application process for New Jersey employers with 15 or more employees, effective March 1, 2015.
Specifically, employers will no longer be permitted to inquire about a candidate’s criminal history during the initial employment application process, either orally, in writing or on an application for employment. The initial employment application process includes the time from which a candidate first inquires about a position until after the employer has conducted a first interview, whether in person or by any other means. Employers also are prohibited from including language in any recruitment advertisements or other solicitations for applicants that explicitly provides that the employer will not consider any applicant who has been arrested or convicted of one or more crimes or offenses.