Colorado’s Fair Chance Law
Source: National Employment Law Project
Colorado House bill 1263 (2012) (applies to state employment and licensing) Signed on May 29, 2012 by Governor John Hickenlooper (D), HB 1263 prohibits state agencies and licensing agencies from performing a background check until the agency determines that the applicant is a finalist for the position or the applicant receives a conditional offer. In determining whether a conviction disqualifies an applicant from employment or licensing, the state or licensing agency must consider (1) the nature of the conviction; (2) the direct relationship of the conviction to the job; (3) rehabilitation and good conduct; and (4) the time elapsed since conviction. The law further prevents agencies from using arrests not leading to conviction in deciding whether to deny or withdraw an offer. Agencies may not disqualify an applicant based on an expunged, sealed, or pardoned conviction or charges dismissed pursuant to a deferred judgment, unless the agen- cies first consider the four factors listed above.
This law does not apply where a statute bars licensing based on criminal convictions nor to certain public safety or correction-related jobs. Consideration of criminal history information that the applicant voluntarily provides is permitted. The law addresses blanket bans in job ads by prohibiting the advertisement of a position with a statement that a person with a criminal record may not apply. The legislation was supported by the Colorado Criminal Justice Reform Coalition and Introduced by Rep. Claire Levy (D)
Commentary: Prior to the bill, Colorado state employment applications omitted any inquiries about applicants’ convictions or arrests. Thus, unlike the typical ban-the-box legislation, this bill does not include language that requires removing the question about convictions on the applica- tion but instead focuses on the use of arrest and conviction information in employment and licens- ing decisions.