Connecticut’s Fair Chance Law
Source: National Employment Law Project
Connecticut’s House Bill 5207 to ban-the-box unanimously passed both the house and senate, but was vetoed by the Gover- nor. Nonetheless, legislators overrode the veto. Taking effect on October 1, 2010, the law prohibits applicants from being disqualified for licensure or employment by state agencies solely because of a conviction. State employers and licensing agencies must wait until an applicant has been deemed otherwise qualified for the position before obtaining a criminal background report.
Existing law (§ 46a-80) required that the employer or licensing agency consider (1) the nature of the crime and its relationship to the job or occupation; (2) rehabilitation information; and (3) the time elapsed since the conviction or release before making an employment or licensure determination. The law further required that the employer or licensing agency provide an applicant with a written letter of rejection specifically stating the evidence presented and reasons for rejection if the appli- cant was disqualified. It also prohibited the use, distribution, or dissemination of records of arrests that did not lead to conviction, or records of convictions that have been erased.
Commentary: Laying the foundation for the bill’s sweeping support in the legislature, advocates formed a coalition (including A Better Way Foundation) that won ban-the-box locally in Norwich, Hartford, and New Haven in 2009.