Monetary remedies are established for violations of the law. The Commissioner of Human Rights may impose the following:
- For violations that occur before January 1, 2015, the penalties are as follows:
- A written warning is issued for the first violation that includes a notice the penalties for subsequent violations;
- If the first violation is not remedied within 30 days of the issuance of the warning, a fine of up to $500 may be imposed; and
- Subsequent violations are subject to a fine of up to $500 per violation, not to exceed $500 in a calendar year.
- For violations that occur after December 31, 2014, the penalties are as follows:
- For employers that employ ten or fewer persons at a site in the state, the penalty is up to $100 for each violation, not to exceed $100 in a calendar month;
- For employers that employ eleven to 20 persons at a site in the state, the penalty is up to $500 for each violation, not to exceed $500 in a calendar month;
- For employers that employ more than 20 persons at one or more sites in the state, the penalty is up to $500 for each violation, not to exceed $2,000 in a calendar month;
The remedies listed above are exclusive and private employers are not additionally liable for non-compliance with the law.
The bill does not exempt an employer from conducting a criminal history background investigation or consider criminal history record when there is a legal requirement to do so. It outlines other exemptions particular to certain types of employment such as law enforcement and fire protection agencies.
A copy of the bill is available at here
The state of Rhode Island has enacted a “Ban the Box” law – Senate Bill 357 (SB 357) – that will prohibit inquiries on employment applications regarding prior criminal convictions except when federal or state law specifically disqualifies a person from employment due to a prior conviction or authorizes such inquiries. The full text of SB 357 – which was signed by Rhode Island Governor Lincoln Chafee on July 16, 2013 and will take effect on January 1, 2014 – is available at http://openstates.org/ri/bills/2013/SB357/.
More than 50 cities and counties as well as ten states in the U.S. have already adopted “Ban the Box” reforms – See more at: http://nelp.3cdn.net/495bf1d813cadb030d_qxm6b9zbt.pdf
- Directly or indirectly, require, request, suggest or cause any employee or prospective employee to submit a consumer credit report or other credit information as a condition of employment;
- Use, accept, refer to or inquire concerning a consumer credit report or other credit information;
- Discharge, discipline, discriminate against in any manner or deny employment or promotion to, or threaten to take any such action against any employee or prospective employee: (a) who refuses, declines or fails to submit a consumer credit report or other credit information; or (b) on the basis of the results of a consumer credit report or other credit information; or
- Discharge, discipline, discriminate against in any manner or deny employment or promotion to, or threaten to take any such action against any employee or prospective employee who has pursuant to the new law: (a) filed any complaint or instituted or caused to be instituted any legal proceeding; (b) testified or may testify in any legal proceeding instituted; or (c) exercised his or her rights, or has exercised on behalf of another person the rights afforded to him or her.
However, Senate Bill 127 does provide for exceptions where an employer may request or consider a consumer credit report or other credit information for employment purposes if:
- The employer is required or authorized, pursuant to state or federal law, to use a consumer credit report or other credit information for that purpose;
- The employer reasonably believes that the employee or prospective employee has engaged in specific activity which may constitute a violation of state or federal law; or
- The information contained in the consumer credit report or other credit information is “job related” or reasonably related to the position for which the employee or prospective employee is being evaluated for employment, promotion, reassignment or retention as an employee.
If an employer violates the new law, the Labor Commissioner may impose an administrative penalty against the employer of not more than $9,000 for each violation.
Minnesota joins Hawaii and Massachusetts for states that have now prohibited private employers from inquiring about and an individual’s criminal history on the initial job application. Other cities that have adopted similar restrictions are Newark, NJ and Philadelphia, PA.
Under the Minnesota law, all private employers are prohibited from inquiring into, considering, or requiring the disclosure of an applicant’s criminal record or history until after (i) the applicant has been selected for an interview, or (ii) where there is no interview, a conditional offer of employment is made to the applicant. The law provides a limited exception for employers with a statutory duty to conduct background checks or inquire into an applicant’s criminal history. All employers are allowed, however, to notify applicants that employer policy or the law will disqualify applicants with certain backgrounds from particular positions.