To provide for fair employment practices, including towards individuals with criminal records, Connecticut employs some restrictions on how businesses may acquire, use, and interpret background checks. To that end, please review this summary of legal restrictions on how you may use a Connecticut state background check.
The state requires employers who use applications with criminal information inquiries to inform individuals of their rights. Applicants have no obligation to share information on arrests or convictions that have since been expunged or otherwise erased under relevant state rules. For the purposes of employment, such arrests are treated as if they never occurred.
Aside from the records erasure exemption outlined above, there are no other restrictions on an employer’s ability to use arrest records.
Businesses in the private sector are not restricted from inquiring about an applicant's conviction records, aside from records that have been erased. Connecticut state law strongly encourages businesses to fully consider applicants without regard to criminal history.
Public employers must observe a few more restrictions. Conviction records are permissible, but to be considered, an offense must be relevant to the position in question. Additionally, employers must consider how much time has elapsed since the conviction, and an applicant's personal efforts towards rehabilitation. Applications must include a statement, clearly visible, informing an applicant they do not have to disclose dismissed charges or those on which they were found not guilty.
Ban the Box
As of 2017, Connecticut has implemented a statewide ban the box law for ALL employers. This law, HB 5237, bars companies from including criminal history questions on applications. The law additionally stipulates employers must not deny applicants who have obtained rehabilitation certification or a pardon, even provisionally. HB 5237 augments previous legislation that delayed criminal checks until an applicant was judged fit for the position.
Several municipalities in Connecticut have instituted their own related statutes. Bridgeport and Hartford allow denied applicants the right of appeal. New Haven applicants must receive a copy of their background check report, and the city contributes further EEOC guidelines to the city's ban the box law. Norwich, an early adopter of ban the box laws, now follows HB237 guidance.
It is not generally lawful for an employer to require any applicant to consent to a credit check when such a check would expose information such as credit score or account balances. Exceptions exist for positions where job duties would include access to cash or highly sensitive personal information, and in some other employment contexts as well.