As an employer, you want to do what you can to ensure that the employees you hire aren’t only well-skilled for the job at hand, but they are of an upstanding moral character. An interview and checking a prospective worker’s references may help alleviate some of your concerns.
These measures won’t give you much insight into whether a prospective worker is of good moral character, though. Many Colorado employers question whether they can pull a background check on a prospective employee and use that information to make hiring decisions.
Can you restrict individuals with criminal records from applying for a job?
On Sept. 1, a new law went into effect here in Colorado that prohibits all employers from including information on an application or in a job vacancy stating that a criminal history would disqualify applicants.
There are some exceptions to this ban-the-box initiative: Private employers are generally prohibited from asking about a person’s criminal history on an application unless Colorado law requires background checks or limits who can apply because of the nature of the position that’s open (such as public safety positions).
When can you perform a background check on a prospective employee?
Colorado law allows state agencies to subject prospective employees to a background check once they’ve made a conditional job offer. Employers offering a public safety-related role or one where a criminal conviction may be a bar to licensure may be able to do so before that stage, though.
Colorado employers can pull a consumer report on prospective employees. However, state law restricts what type of information Consumer Reporting Agencies (CRAs) can include on that report. They can’t include indictments, arrests or convictions if the disposition of the case occurred seven or more years ago and the applicant’s expected pay is $75,000 or less. (The 7-year rule doesn’t apply to individuals who stand to earn more.)
Colorado law doesn’t currently restrict employers from sourcing data about prospective applicants via public sources at all.
Knowing the law when performing background checks on your prospective employees leaves you less vulnerable to legal issues.