On August 11, 2014, New Jersey joined a growing number of “ban the box” states when Governor Chris Christie signed into law the Opportunity to Compete Act. The Act, which goes into effect on March 1, 2015, precludes public and private employers with 15 or more employees from asking about a job applicant’s criminal record until after the first job interview, unless the applicant voluntarily discloses such information. The Act also prohibits employers from mentioning criminal history in any job advertisement. Employers cannot ask about criminal history in any employment application form or process before or during the applicant’s initial interview. Employers should ensure that their employment applications are compliant when the Act becomes effective.

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