Can an employer ask about my criminal record in New Jersey?

When individuals have a criminal record in New Jersey, they may be concerned if it will impact their ability to obtain gainful employment. This is a valid concern as some criminal convictions do limit the employment opportunities which an individual may pursue. For example, individuals who have a criminal record are often not eligible for jobs in law enforcement, homeland security, emergency management, or the judiciary.

In 2015, New Jersey signed the “Opportunity to Compete Act” which created law concerning the hiring of individuals with a criminal record. The concern that many individuals with a criminal record have is that an employer will not consider them for a job. With this law, an employer is not permitted to ask about any criminal record during the initial application job process. This law only applies to employers that have 15 or more employees. If an employer violates the Opportunity to Compete Act, the employer will be subject to substantial fines. Individuals who are the subject of an employer’s violation of the act are not permitted to bring a lawsuit on that basis.

The law doesn’t prohibit an employer from refusing to give an applicant a job because of a criminal record, unless it has been expunged.

If you are an individual that is trying to move past a criminal record, it may be a good idea to consult with an experienced criminal defense attorney to discuss your options. The attorneys at Rem Law Group, P.C. can help you determine whether you are eligible for an expungement to clear your criminal record. If you have questions, contact us today.