Governor Patrick recently signed legislation that made significant changes to the Criminal Offender Record Information (“CORI”) law.
Most importantly, starting November 4, 2010, it will be unlawful for all Massachusetts’ employers to request criminal offender record information or criminal history on the employer’s “initial written application,” including employers who are not CORI certified. The only exceptions to the new CORI reform legislation are for (1) positions for which a federal or state law or regulation disqualifies an applicant based on a conviction; or (2) employers who are subject to an obligation under a federal or state law or regulation prohibiting employment of persons who have been convicted. Although additional direction is needed from the legislature, the executive branch or the courts on some portions of the new statute, the consensus of opinion in the legal community is that the statute allows employers to continue to question applicants about felony and currently unprotected misdemeanor convictions during in-person interviews.
It is important to note that the CORI reform law does not change the employer’s ability to obtain a current or prospective employee’s criminal history from the Massachusetts’ Criminal History Systems Board as well as the Massachusetts District and Superior Courts.
As a state-certified CORI agency, Creative Services has over 30 years of experience researching and reporting criminal records to our clients. We are committed to providing you with the highest level of service and education and we are available to answer your questions about what you can ask an applicant regarding his or her criminal convictions and the timing of those questions. If you would like further assistance, please contact us at our toll-free number 1-800-227-0002. Ask to speak with Kellie O’Shea, Client Services, extension 202, or Jack Nichols, Director and General Counsel, extension 211.
NOTE: This client alert should not be construed as legal advice or a legal opinion on any specific facts or circumstances. The contents are intended for general purposes only. You are urged to consult an attorney regarding your own situation and any legal questions you may have.