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Vermont Bans the Box

By Michael Klazema on 5/6/2016

Under the new law, an employer may inquire about a prospective employee’s criminal history record in an interview or once the prospective employee has been deemed qualified for the position.  The bill takes effect on July 1, 2017.

There are two specific exceptions provided in the law allowing employers to inquire about any criminal convictions on an initial employee form:

  1. The applicant is applying for a position for which any federal or state law or regulation creates a mandatory or presumptive disqualification based on a conviction for one of more type of criminal offenses, and
  2. The employer or an affiliate of the employer is subjected to an obligation imposed by any federal or state law or regulation not to employ individual, in either one or more positions, who have been convicted of one or more types of criminal offenses.

The questions on the application form are limited to the type of criminal offenses creating the disqualification or obligation. If the employer inquires about a prospective employee’s criminal history information, the prospective employee must be afforded the opportunity to explain the information and the circumstances regarding any convictions including post-conviction rehabilitation.

Employers who violate the provisions of this law will be liable for a civil penalty of up to $100 for each violation.

What This Means to You

  • This applies to all employers in Vermont.
  • The new law allows employers to request a prospective employee’s criminal records in an interview or once the applicant is deemed qualified for the job.
  • When requesting the applicant’s criminal history information, the employer must allow the individual to explain the circumstances behind any convictions including post-conviction rehabilitation.
  • Employers who violate this law will be penalized up to $100 for each violation.

House Bill 261 is available here for review: 
https://legiscan.com/VT/text/H0261/id/1394944/Vermont-2015-H0261-Enrolled.pdf

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