Stiff penalties accompany N.J.’s new ‘ban-the-box’ law

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The “ban-the-box” law that Gov. Chris Christie signed this week doesn’t take effect until March.



In places including Philadelphia, many companies have ignored such laws. A sponsor of the Garden State measure said there will be penalties if that happens in New Jersey.

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The law prohibits New Jersey employers from requiring job seekers to check a box on an application form if they have a criminal record.

Companies can ask about an applicant’s criminal history only at the end of a job interview.

Employers will face a $1,000 fine for the first violation, $5,000 penalty for the second offense, and a $10,000 fine for each additional violation.

State Sen. Ray Lesniak said that will serve as an effective deterrent.

“Certainly not on the first offense, but that’s why it was escalated dramatically on the second offense,” he said. “Because the greater penalty if they do it again will be very helpful in ensuring compliance.”

Delaying the law until March allows time to educate businesses about it and to train their human resources staffs, Lesniak said.

The state will aggressively enforce the new law with the Labor Department taking administrative action against violators. The attorney general’s office could be called in to deal with any serious offenders, Lesniak said.

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