Amanda Gómez Cited in “Hawaii Legislators Restrict Consideration of Criminal Records”


Amanda M. Gómez, Associate in the Employment, Labor & Workforce Management practice, in the firm’s New York office, was cited in Workest, in “Hawaii Legislators Restrict Consideration of Criminal Records,” by Lisa Burden.

Following is an excerpt:

Hawaii legislators have tweaked their “Ban the Box” law, reducing the number of years that employers can consider when reviewing a job applicant’s criminal conviction history.

Previously, public and private employers could go back 10 years in considering a job applicant’s criminal record. The new law distinguishes between felonies and misdemeanors, limiting employers to consideration of felony convictions only as far back as 7 years and as far back as 5 years for misdemeanor convictions, excluding periods of incarceration. …

“Ban the Box” laws in 2020

Hawaii isn’t the only jurisdiction to consider a “ban the box” law. Even in the midst of the pandemic, several other cities and states have amended, approved, or enacted such a law.

California’s “Fair Chance Act” went into effect in January 2018, making it illegal for employers in California with 5 or more employees to ask about an applicant’s criminal record before making a job offer. Under new regulations promulgated by the California Fair Employment and Housing Council that went into effect on October 1, 2020, the definition of an “applicant” was expanded to include individuals who begin work upon receiving a conditional offer of employment but before the employer has conducted or completed a criminal background check.

The change was “ostensibly prompted by the delay some employers are encountering in obtaining relevant criminal history information due to the COVID-19 pandemic, the new rule ensures that individuals working pursuant to a conditional job offer still enjoy the protections afforded by the CFCA to applicants,” according to Amanda M. Gomez, an attorney with Epstein Becker Green.

Other states

Maryland’s “ban the box” law went into effect on February 29, 2020 after lawmakers overrode a governor veto. It forbids all employers with 15 or more full-time employees from asking job applicants to disclose criminal records or criminal accusations before the first in-person interview.

In Virginia, a new law that decriminalizes simple possession of marijuana also contains a “ban the box” provision prohibiting employers from requiring job applicants to disclose information concerning criminal charges, arrests, or convictions for simple possession of marijuana went into effect on July 1, 2020, Epstein Becker Green attorney Amanda Gomez has noted.

Related reading:

October 21, 2020, Workforce Bulletin, “‘Ban the Box’ Update: St. Louis Enacts Ordinance; California and Hawaii Expand Existing Laws,” by Amanda M. Gómez.