SB 198

Session
Regular Session 2018
Title
Employment practice, unlawful to inquire from job applicant information relating to arrests or conviction of crimes, criminal record, with exceptions
Description

Under existing law, there is no Alabama statute prohibiting the State of Alabama, its agencies, or its political subdivisions, as employers, from discriminating against a job applicant based on the applicant's criminal conviction record

This bill would prohibit the State of Alabama, its agencies, and its political subdivisions, as employers, from inquiring into or considering an applicant's arrest or conviction history for consideration of a job until after the applicant has received a conditional job offer, except when a conviction is directly related to the position of employment sought

This bill would require the State of Alabama, its agencies, and its political subdivisions, as employers, to maintain certain employment and hiring records relating to the conviction history of employees and job applicants

This bill would also authorize the Department of Labor to enforce the provisions of this act

Relating to criminal convictions; to prohibit the State of Alabama, its agencies, and its political subdivisions, as employers, from inquiring into or considering an applicant's conviction history for consideration of a job until after the applicant has received a conditional job offer, with exceptions; to require the State of Alabama, its agencies, and its political subdivisions, as employers, to maintain certain employment and hiring records relating to the conviction history of employees and job applicants; and to authorize the Department of Labor to enforce the provisions of this act.

Subjects
Employment
View Original PDF: SB 198 - Introduced - PDF

Under existing law, there is no Alabama statute prohibiting the State of Alabama, its agencies, or its political subdivisions, as employers, from discriminating against a job applicant based on the applicant's criminal conviction record

This bill would prohibit the State of Alabama, its agencies, and its political subdivisions, as employers, from inquiring into or considering an applicant's arrest or conviction history for consideration of a job until after the applicant has received a conditional job offer, except when a conviction is directly related to the position of employment sought

This bill would require the State of Alabama, its agencies, and its political subdivisions, as employers, to maintain certain employment and hiring records relating to the conviction history of employees and job applicants

This bill would also authorize the Department of Labor to enforce the provisions of this act

Relating to criminal convictions; to prohibit the State of Alabama, its agencies, and its political subdivisions, as employers, from inquiring into or considering an applicant's conviction history for consideration of a job until after the applicant has received a conditional job offer, with exceptions; to require the State of Alabama, its agencies, and its political subdivisions, as employers, to maintain certain employment and hiring records relating to the conviction history of employees and job applicants; and to authorize the Department of Labor to enforce the provisions of this act.

Section 1

The Legislature finds and declares that reducing barriers to employment for people with arrest and conviction records and decreasing unemployment in communities with concentrated numbers of people with criminal conviction records are matters of statewide concern. The Legislature further finds and declares that increasing employment opportunities for people with records will reduce recidivism and improve economic stability in our communities.

Section 2

As used in this act, the following words shall have the following meanings: (1) APPLICANT. Any individual considered for, or who requests to be considered for, employment or any employee considered for, or who requests to be considered for, another employment position by the employer. (2) EMPLOYER. The State of Alabama, its agencies, or political subdivisions. (3) HIRING AUTHORITY. The person, board, commission, or department of the state, or the agencies or political subdivisions thereof, responsible by law for hiring individuals for public employment.

Section 3

(a) The following criminal records may not be used, distributed, or disseminated by the state, or the agencies or political subdivisions thereof, in connection with any application for employment with an employer: (1) Arrest not followed by a valid conviction. (2) Convictions that have been sealed, dismissed, or expunged. (3) Infractions or misdemeanor convictions for which no jail sentence may be imposed. (b) Any information pertaining to an applicant's background check obtained in conjunction with the hiring process shall remain confidential, and may not be used, distributed, or disseminated by the state, or the agencies or political subdivisions thereof, except as otherwise required by law.

Section 4

(a) An employer or hiring authority may not inquire into or consider an applicant's conviction history until after the applicant has received a conditional offer. (b) Job applications for employment with an employer may not inquire into an applicant's conviction history.

Section 5

(a) An individual may not be disqualified from employment with an employer solely or in part because of a prior conviction, unless a conviction is directly related to the position of employment sought. If a state or federal law, rule, or regulation explicitly requires that certain convictions are an automatic bar to employment, then those convictions shall be considered. (b) In determining whether a conviction directly relates to the position of employment sought, the employer or hiring authority shall consider all of the following: (1) Whether the conviction is directly related to the duties and responsibilities of that employment position or occupation. (2) Whether the position or occupation offers the opportunity for the same or a similar offense to occur. (3) Whether circumstances leading to the conduct for which the individual was convicted will recur in the position or occupation. (4) The length of time since the offense occurred.

Section 6

(a) Nothing in this act shall be interpreted as to create any requirement, power, or duty in conflict with any federal or state law, rule, or regulation, or with a requirement of any government agency or employer from implementing any federal or state law, rule, or regulation that may govern applicant inquiries, employment decisions, or applicant communications. (b) Nothing in this act shall prohibit an employer from notifying applicants in writing of the specific offenses that will disqualify an applicant from employment in a particular position due to federal or state law or the employer's policy.

Section 7

(a) The requirements set forth in this act do not apply to positions where a standard fidelity bond or an equivalent bond is required and an applicant's conviction of one or more specified offenses would disqualify the applicant from obtaining such a bond, in which case an employer may include a question or otherwise inquire whether the applicant has ever been convicted of any of those offenses. (b) This act shall not apply to the hiring of Alabama Securities Commission personnel who have access to confidential information or who perform law enforcement functions or to the hiring of Alabama Banking Department personnel who have access to confidential supervisory information. (c) This act shall not apply to an employer that is a law enforcement agency.

Section 8

If the employer or hiring authority intends to deny an applicant a position of employment solely or in part because of the applicant's prior conviction, the employer or hiring authority, prior to a final decision, shall provide the applicant written notification of the following: (1) The specific conviction or convictions that are the basis for the potential denial or disqualification. (2) A copy of the conviction history report, if any.

Section 9

(a) The Department of Labor shall be responsible for enforcing the provisions of this act. A person who is aggrieved by an employer's or hiring authority's violation of this act may contact the Department of Labor to report any problems, concerns, or suggestions regarding the implementation, compliance, and impact of the provisions of this act, and the department shall keep a record. In addition, the Department of Labor shall conduct periodic reviews to assess compliance with this act. The Department of Labor shall investigate and review complaints and maintain records detailing complaints and their disposition. (b) An employer or hiring authority shall retain for a minimum of three years application forms, records of employment, and other pertinent data and records required under Sections 1 to 6, inclusive, including, but not limited to, communication with the applicant, and shall allow the Department of Labor access to such records to monitor compliance. In addition, the employer shall maintain a record of all of the following: (1) The number of positions requiring background checks. (2) The number of applicants for positions described in subdivision (1) who were provided a conditional offer. (3) The number of applicants with a conviction record who were notified by the employer that the applicant's conviction record may disqualify the applicant, as provided in

Section 10

(c) Employers and hiring authorities shall also regularly conduct a confidential, anonymous survey of employees in public employment in which background checks are not conducted to determine the number of individuals with conviction records who are hired. (d) An appeal, complaint, or grievance concerning a violation of the provisions of this act by an employer or hiring authority shall be processed and adjudicated in accordance with established state procedures. (e) The Department of Labor shall conduct an annual audit to review the state's hiring practices in an effort to ensure that people with records are not unreasonably denied employment with the state. The Department of Labor shall prepare a written report of this annual audit and submit the written report to the Governor within 90 days of the end of the fiscal year for which the audit was conducted. With respect to any violations of this act noted in the annual audit report that occur after January 1, 2018, the Governor shall take immediate and appropriate action to ensure that such violations do not recur. Section 10. The provisions of this act shall prevail over any other laws or rules which purport to govern the initiation, suspension, or termination of employment on the grounds of conviction of an offense. Nothing in this act may be construed to otherwise affect relevant proceedings involving the initiation, suspension, or termination of employment. Section 11. This act shall become effective January 1, 2019.

No articles found.
Action Date Chamber Action
March 22, 2018HRead for the first time and referred to the House of Representatives committee on State Government
March 22, 2018SEngrossed
March 21, 2018SMotion to Read a Third Time and Pass adopted Roll Call 1019
March 21, 2018SSingleton motion to Adopt adopted Roll Call 1018
March 21, 2018SSingleton first Substitute Offered
March 21, 2018SThird Reading Passed
February 8, 2018SSingleton motion to Carry Over to the Call of the Chair adopted Voice Vote
February 8, 2018SThird Reading Carried Over to Call of the Chair
January 25, 2018SRead for the second time and placed on the calendar
January 23, 2018SRead for the first time and referred to the Senate committee on Judiciary
2018-03-21
Chamber: Senate
Result: Passed
2018-03-21
Chamber: Senate
Result: Passed