As we addressed in our August Client Advisory, Governor Deval Patrick recently signed a law that significantly revised the Commonwealth’s Criminal Offender Record Information System. The new law includes an amendment to M.G.L. ch. 151B (the Commonwealth’s Anti-Discrimination Statute) that has a direct impact on the hiring practices of most employers. Specifically, the amendment to chapter 151B prohibits employers from inquiring about a job applicant’s criminal offender record information on an initial written application for employment, with certain limited exceptions.

The amendment to Ch. 151B is effective November 4, 2010. We advise all Massachusetts employers to be mindful of this deadline, as most employers will need to revise their job applications by this date. Nutter’s Labor, Employment and Benefits group can assist you in making the necessary changes to your job applications, determining whether your company might fall within one of the law’s exceptions, and otherwise advising your company on the use of lawful background and criminal record checks.