Proposed Criminal Records Overhaul Works for Massachusetts Employers

Posted by Brad MacDougall on Jun 30, 2010 11:14:00 AM

AIM urged a legislative conference committee yesterday to endorse a proposed overhaul of the system through which some employers access the criminal records of job applicants.

The conference committee is addressing differences between House and Senate bills related to the state's criminal offender record information (CORI) as a part of a larger crime package.  In a letter to committee members, AIM said that key elements of the House and Senate bills strike an acceptable balance between the need for employers to maintain safe workplaces and the desire of offenders to find jobs.

The House and Senate versions (H.4712 and S.2220) address underlying problems with the CORI system. 
AIM believes that employers must have the ability to make hiring decisions unencumbered by overreaching and burdensome laws and regulations. The reform bills contain provisions that protect employers from liability when in compliance with the law and allow for the continued use of aggregators (third-party CORI users).

A "ban the box" provision preventing employers from asking about criminal records as part of the initial job application exempts employers who are statutorily prohibited from hiring ex-offenders, and allows inquiries later in the process for others.

AIM's support the provisions of CORI reform that achieve the following:

  • Ensure the accuracy of Criminal Offender Record Information (CORI)
  • Provide employers with an affirmative defense against liability when using CORI
  • Upgrade the database systems necessary to ensure timely access of CORI information and to validate and provide for the correction of inaccurate data
  • Upgrade database system and to allow for national background searches tied to fingerprinting.
  • Increase the membership of the criminal history system's board to include actual system users as well as representatives with workforce training experience.

Topics: Massachusetts Legislature, Employers, AIM, Employment Law, CORI

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