All states have certain restrictions and limitations on the use of criminal history information for hiring purposes. New Mexico is no exception to this rule. Below, we have outlined some of the most significant regulations. Employers should consider these restrictions before conducting a New Mexico state background check.
Ban the Box
In 2010, New Mexico’s governor signed a bill that officially banned the box for all public employers in the state. The state government and city and county government departments are not legally permitted to ask a candidate about criminal history on a job application. Public employers should refrain from conducting any form of background check until a candidate has been selected as a “finalist.”
This legislation is the only ban the box law on the books in New Mexico. In 2017, the legislature passed a bill that would have extended the state’s ban the box law to all private employers. However, the governor vetoed the legislation and refused to sign it.
No cities or counties in the state have their own ban the box laws at this time, which means no private employers are restricted from inquiring about criminal history on job applications or running background checks early in the screening process.
New Mexico’s ban the box law includes language that prohibits public employers from asking about arrests that didn’t lead to convictions, or using standalone arrest details for hiring decisions. Private employers are technically allowed to ask about arrests or consider arrest history details if those arrest records have not been expunged or sealed. However, arrest details are not typically available to private employers, and arrest history details will be excluded from the findings report for this New Mexico background check.
Public employers can consider criminal convictions but may not make a criminal conviction a bar to employment for any position. However, public employers cannot consider any misdemeanor convictions “not involving moral turpitude.”
Public employers cannot consider convictions until after they have chosen a candidate as a finalist. Private employers are less restricted and are permitted to ask about or consider any conviction—felony or misdemeanor—if it has not been sealed or expunged.