Colorado’s New Clean Slate Act

The Colorado Clean Slate Act will significantly change how employers handle background check records. Starting on July 1st, this law aims to change how the state handles and accesses criminal records completely.

Employers must adjust to these upcoming changes as the act introduces new procedures for sealing and expunging certain criminal records. This change will impact hiring practices and the overall job market in Colorado. Employers should understand the details of the Clean Slate Act to follow the rules and make shrewd choices during the hiring process.

Key points:

  • Implementation date: July 1st
  • Noteworthy impact: Handling of background check records
  • Significance: Essential for compliance and informed hiring practices

We have comprehensive insights into various aspects of background check compliance and regulation, which is vital for employers navigating changes caused by the Clean Slate Act.

Additionally, it’s necessary to note that Colorado has recently introduced legislation—the Job Application Fairness Act. This act, which will come into effect by mid-2024, requires companies to comply with specific regulations to promote fairness in job applications. Familiarizing yourself with this legislation can help you prepare for the coming changes in hiring practices.

By staying informed about these adjustments, employers can ensure they are prepared to navigate the new legal landscape effectively.

Understanding the Colorado Clean Slate Act

The Colorado Clean Slate Act is a legislative initiative designed to provide individuals with past convictions a fresh start. The primary goal of the act is to facilitate the sealing or expungement of specific criminal records to reduce barriers to employment, housing, and other opportunities.

Provisions of the Act

Key provisions of the Colorado Clean Slate Act focus on:

Sealing Records

This process makes some criminal records inaccessible to the public while remaining available to law enforcement entities.

Sealing Mechanisms

  • Automatic sealing of eligible low-level offenses after a specified period.
  • Eligibility criteria must be met, including completion of sentencing and absence of subsequent criminal activities.


Unlike sealing, expungement completely erases the record from public and official databases.

Expungement Mechanisms

  • Applicable for specific juvenile and minor offenses.
  • Requires a petition process where individuals must demonstrate rehabilitation.

These mechanisms aim to eliminate discrimination based on past convictions, thus promoting equitable opportunities. If you’re interested in understanding how these provisions might impact background checks in Colorado, you can refer to our Colorado State Background Check page.

Key Provisions of the Colorado Clean Slate Act

  1. Automatic Sealing of Criminal Records

The Clean Slate Act introduces a provision for automatically sealing some criminal records. This automatic process eliminates the need for individuals to file petitions, making it easier for them to benefit from the law. Automatic sealing enhances employment and housing opportunities for those with eligible low-level convictions.

  1. Eligibility Criteria for Record Sealing

Eligibility criteria play a crucial role in determining which records can be sealed:

  • Low-level convictions: Misdemeanors and non-violent offenses generally qualify.
  • Felonies exempt from sealing: Serious felonies such as violent and sexual offenses are not eligible.

This clear distinction ensures that the act targets individuals who deserve a second chance while maintaining public safety.

  1. Expungement vs. Sealing of Records

Understanding the difference between expungement and sealing is essential:

  • Sealing: Records are hidden from public view but still exist within the legal system. Law enforcement and stipulated employers may still access them.
  • Expungement: Records are entirely erased as if the offense never occurred.

Under the Clean Slate Act, automatic sealing is more prevalent, providing a practical pathway for many individuals to move forward without the stigma of a past conviction. Expungement remains an option in specific cases, offering a more thorough resolution.

Impact on Employers and Changes to Background Check Practices

The Clean Slate Act introduces significant changes for employers in Colorado, particularly regarding their hiring practices and the use of background checks during the screening process. The legislation aims to enhance employment and housing opportunities by automatically sealing specified criminal records. This shift necessitates adjustments in how employers conduct and interpret background screenings.

Practical Guidance for Employers

To navigate the new landscape of background checks effectively:

  1. Update policies: Revise internal policies to reflect the changes demanded by the Clean Slate Act.
  2. Training: Educate HR and compliance teams about new regulations and best practices.
  3. Leverage alternative verifications: Utilize additional verification methods such as employment, education, and professional license verifications to compensate for gaps in criminal history information.

Employers must stay informed about these legislative changes and adapt their practices accordingly, ensuring they make well-informed, compliant hiring decisions.

Embracing second chances is essential for fostering a more inclusive and equitable society. The Colorado Clean Slate Act plays a crucial role in this mission by enabling individuals with past criminal records to rebuild their lives. As this act takes effect, it underscores the importance of creating opportunities for those who have made amends, ensuring they can contribute positively to their communities. Employers who understand and adapt to these changes can support this transformative initiative and continue to make informed hiring decisions.

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Michael Klazema

About Michael Klazema The author

Michael Klazema is the lead author and editor for Dallas-based with a focus on human resource and employment screening developments

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