Background screening laws are constantly evolving and keeping up with them can be challenging. We’ve compiled a few that are important to note to help employers navigate 2024!
Clean Slate Laws
Petition-based record expungement is costly and complex, and as a result fewer than 10% of Americans eligible for record clearance succeed in clearing their record. To support fair chance hiring, a growing number of states are implementing Clean Slate laws to enable courts to automatically expunge eligible criminal records on a large scale. Unlike Ban the Box laws, which restrict when criminal record information may be used in background checks, Clean Slate laws remove certain criminal records entirely to help eliminate barriers to employment. We can anticipate fewer Ban the Box laws and increased Clean Slate laws in the future.
Here’s an overview of state Clean Slate laws with implementation planned in the coming year:
|Automatically erases misdemeanor convictions after seven years conviction-free, class D and E felonies and unclassified felonies after 10 years conviction-free, Class C felonies after 12 years conviction-free.
|Delayed from 2023; phased implementation began in January 2024
|Automatically seals arrests not resulting in conviction and certain felony convictions after completing terms of conviction and four years conviction-free. Individuals convicted of a felony on or after January 1, 2021, can petition to have records sealed two years after completing their sentence. Does not apply to registered sex offenders.
|Delayed from 2023 to 2024
|Automatically seals all criminal records that defendants can petition to have sealed and that are not subject to the victims rights acts. This includes civil infractions four years after final disposition, petty offenses or misdemeanors seven years after final disposition, and eligible felonies ten years after final disposition or release from supervision, whichever is later.
|Automatically expunges all adult and juvenile charges that qualify for mandatory expungement, including: acquittals, nolle prosequi, dismissals, arrests not charged within one year of arrest, convictions for marijuana possession, and underage possession or consumption of alcohol. Certain misdemeanor convictions are eligible after five years with no prior or subsequent convictions; [KA10] certain felony convictions are eligible after ten years with no prior or subsequent convictions.
|Automatically seals eligible misdemeanor convictions three years after satisfaction of a sentence and eligible felony convictions three years after satisfaction of a sentence, if there is no current charge pending. Sex offenses and Class A felonies are not eligible.
|Effective November 2024, with implementation effective by November 2027
Cannabis off the job
As more states legalize cannabis for medical or recreational use, laws regarding employment screenings for marijuana are evolving. If federal or state laws or industry regulations don’t require drug testing for a particular role, employers may consider whether marijuana testing is necessary as part of your hiring process. Employers should closely monitor legislation in this area and be mindful of several new state laws that prohibit employers from taking action against candidates or employees who use cannabis outside of work.
Here’s an overview of state cannabis laws with implementation planned for the coming year:
|California (AB 2188)
|Prohibits employment discrimination based on 1) a candidate or employee’s use of cannabis outside the workplace or 2) a drug test indicating the presence of non-psychoactive cannabis metabolites.
|January 1, 2024
|Prohibits employers from asking candidates about their prior use of cannabis or using information about a candidate or employee’s prior cannabis use obtained from a criminal history, unless state or federal law permits considering that information.
|January 1, 2024
|Prohibits employers from making hiring decisions based on a candidate’s off-duty use of cannabis or positive pre-employment drug test results that find a candidate to have non-psychoactive cannabis metabolites in their hair, blood, urine or other bodily fluids.
|January 1, 2024
|Legalized adult, recreational use and changes drug testing restrictions for employers to only allow testing for reasonable suspicion and post-accident; pre-employment and random testing is now limited to safety-sensitive positions.
|May 3, 2024
|Prohibits employers from firing or taking disciplinary action against an employee solely for an employee’s private, lawful use of cannabis outside the workplace.
|July 1, 2024
Requesting wage history
When employers consider a new hire’s prior salary in setting their wages, it can unintentionally perpetuate pay inequity. To promote comparable pay for comparable work, an increasing number of jurisdictions are passing laws that prohibit employers from requesting information about candidates’ prior wages. Employers may wish to review their job applications, employment interview procedures, and employment verification processes to support compliance with applicable salary history laws, such as the two new laws below.
|Prohibits employers from inquiring into, considering, or requiring disclosure of a candidate’s pay history during the hiring process.
|January 1, 2024
|Prohibits employers with 15 or more employees from asking about or screening candidates based on their current or prior wages, benefits, other compensation, or salary histories.
|March 1, 2024