Assemblyman Parker Space, a member of the Assembly Labor Committee, voiced his strong opposition to the “Opportunity to Compete Act” which was released by the committee today. The bill, A-3837, prohibits an employer from conducting a criminal background check on a job candidate until after a conditional offer of employment has been extended.
“As an employer, it is important to obtain complete information about an applicant’s background,” said Space, R- Sussex, Morris and Warren, who operates Space Farms and Zoo Museum in Sussex County. “The recruitment process for filling a job is timely and costly. This bill creates more paperwork for employers and certainly adds to the cost of hiring a qualified person. Businesses need to know at the outset if a candidate merits serious consideration for a specific job and those who don’t match their needs.”
The legislation requires employers to wait until a conditional job offer has been made to ask about all criminal offenses – including serious violations of law such as attempted murder, homicide, arson and weapons possessions. Only after a candidate has been found to be qualified and has received a conditional offer of employment, an employer is then authorized to consider a candidate’s criminal history.
“At a time when government is increasing the minimum wage and creating a confusing, unworkable and costly healthcare system under Obamacare, the last thing businesses need is more onerous regulations,” explained Space. “Jobs have different requirements depending on the responsibilities of the position. This ‘one-size-fits-all’ legislation will not help create jobs. In fact, it could have the opposite effect.”
Under the bill, before an inquiry into the candidate’s criminal history is made, the employer must inform the candidate written notice of the inquiry and obtain the candidate’s consent. An employer that decides against hiring an applicant based on the candidate’s criminal history must provide the candidate:
- a copy of the adverse employment decision;
- a copy of the results of the criminal history inquiry;
- a completed copy of the Applicant Criminal Record Consideration Form;
An employer who maintains their decision not to hire a prospective employee after considering any additional information provided by the candidate is required to complete an additional section of the Applicant Criminal Record Consideration Form, and, within 45 days, provide this to the candidate along with written notice of the final decision.