On January 1, 2023, Connecticut Public Act No. 21-32 the “Clean Slate” law expanded protections for applicants and employees with criminal records. Employers are prohibited from requesting information about, making hiring decisions based on, or discriminating or discharging employees based on criminal records that have been erased.
The new law allows for erasure of criminal convictions depending on the classification of conviction and the date on which the judgment of conviction was entered. Eligible offenses include most misdemeanors, most class D and E felonies, and most unclassified felonies with a possible prison sentence of five years or less.
- Any classified or unclassified misdemeanor offenses will be erased seven years from the date on which the court entered the person’s most recent judgment of conviction;
- Any class D or E felony or unclassified felony carrying a term of imprisonment of five years or less will be erased ten years from the date on which the court entered the person’s most recent judgment of conviction;
- Any family violence crimes and sexual offenses are ineligible for erasure.
Erasures for qualifying convictions will occur automatically for offenses occurring on or after January 1, 2020. If a person committed a misdemeanor before reaching the age of 18, such convictions will be automatically erased if the offense occurred on or after January 1, 2000 and before July 1, 2012. Other offenses can be erased by way of petition.
In some cases, for example education employees, inquiry into criminal record is permissible. In those cases, the clean slate law requires a notice, in clear and conspicuous language, defining erased records and informing the applicant that they not required to disclose arrests or convictions that have been erased. Further, employers are prohibited from advertising employment opportunities in a way that discriminates against individuals with erased criminal records.
Enforcement authority rests with the Connecticut Department of Labor, the Connecticut Commission on Human Rights and Opportunities, and the Connecticut Superior Courts. Employees and applicants can file complaints about violations of this law with any of these authorities. Individuals filing civil actions may be entitled to injunctive relief, damages, and other remedies.
Employers should ensure their employment opportunity advertisements and applications are compliant with the new law. As always, the attorneys at Murtha Cullina remain willing and able to advise on these and other employment issues.