Under Senate Bill 96, private employers are no longer allowed to inquire about a prospective employee’s criminal history file. Read on for more.
New Mexico’ Ban the Box’ Law
It is essential for employers to know about the possible criminal backgrounds of prospective employees. However, new regulation views this request as discriminatory against future employees and is no longer allowed to be included in the first part of the application process.
This law will take effect by the end of this month, and it will be forbidden to ask questions of this sort on prospective job interviews.
Senate Bill 96 was signed off by Democratic Gov. Michelle Lujan Grisham, and the main reason for including this procedure into employer’s policies was to avoid discrimination claims and inadvertent discrimination during the hiring process.
Ban the Box is a national movement that is aimed towards persuading employers to remove the discriminatory checkboxes during the hiring process.
Grisham stated that nothing in this section of the law would prohibit the employer from checking the background of the employee, but it will surely reduce the discriminatory hiring process that has been lead in this state for decades.
She added that this law allows all applicants who have been victims of human rights violations during the job interviews to seek justice under the Human Rights Act. She continued explaining that even though there has been an “outrage” by local employers, she considered this to be one of the best moves in her career since people are not aware of the discriminatory hiring in New Mexico.
Under this law, the state government regulates the discriminatory part of the hiring process but allows the employers to get a criminal record of the applicant once they are actually considered for the job. In other words, the law stated that employers would have to take into consideration the “convicted file” after a thorough review of the applicant’s file and his prospects in the company.
Furthermore, the law states that the following steps need to be strictly followed: the applicant mustn’t be judged or asked about his criminal history during the first part of the hiring process; the employers have the right to look into the applicant’s illegal history file only when he’s taken into serious consideration for the position. Lastly, a conviction may not automatically disqualify someone from future employment.
In the last section of the law, there is a thoroughly explained process on how one employer should act if they are considering a formerly convicted job seeker desirable for their position. They will need to turn to the Human Rights Act and ask for further assistance from the government.
Lastly, Grisham added that this legislature ensures that a secure, non-discriminatory pathway exists for all New Mexicans and their families. She said that she couldn’t be more proud of signing off such prominent legislature.