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Legislature Tightens Access to Criminal Records; Adds Employer Protection

The Massachusetts Legislature today passed a criminal-justice reform bill that narrows the ability of employers to research the criminal records of job applicants, but also provides legal protection from negligent-hiring claims to companies that are unable to view a sealed criminal record.

The state Senate and House of Representatives both passed the measure with overwhelming majorities. It now goes to Governor Charlie Baker, who has ten days to sign or veto it.

The inclusion of the negligent-hiring provision grew out of discussions brokered by AIM last summer between sponsors of the bill and employers who rely upon criminal background checks through the Massachusetts Criminal Offender Records Information (CORI) system.  The provision protects employers that conduct background checks and end up hiring individuals with criminal records that are sealed, expunged, or no longer available to employers. 

Key elements of the reform bill for employers include:

Organizations that serve vulnerable populations, such as school systems or nursing homes, would continue to have broader access to criminal records.

Read the original blog post on the AIM Blog

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