Talking About Your Criminal Record

On March 1, 2015, The Opportunity to Compete Act went into effect in New Jersey. Under this law employers are no longer permitted to make inquiries about an applicant’s criminal record history within the application or in any oral or written communications prior to the completion of the first interview. Additionally, employers may not post advertisements indicating that they will not hire any applicant who has been arrested or convicted of one or more offenses. Positions in areas of law enforcement, corrections, the judiciary, homeland security, emergency management, and any other positions that require a criminal record history background check are exempt from the requirements of this law. The law only applies to employers who employ 15 or more individuals for at least 20 calendar weeks per year.

After the first initial application and interview, employers may then inquire about criminal history. It is beneficial to be honest during this time rather than lying to a possible future employer. A criminal background check will most likely be administered prior to employment, and lying will not help you.