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New Jersey Background Check Laws

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New Jersey Employment Screening laws

Employers that are either located in New Jersey or hiring New Jersey residents must abide by the Federal FCRA, and applicable New Jersey state employment laws.

This page was created to provide a simple explanation of what an end-user of a background screening report (also known as consumer report) can use in order to be in compliance with New Jersey state laws. This page also contains steps an end-user must take to stay in compliance with New Jersey state laws.

Please keep in mind that the EEOC must always be taken into consideration when a hiring decision is to be made. The EEOC has provided guidance on how employers can use criminal records during the hiring process. This regulation was issued on April 25, 2012. The EEOC requires employers to individually review each applicant or employee that may be disqualified due to a criminal record. This also follows the regulations set forth by the Americans with Disabilities Act (ADA). Additionally, the EEOC wants to undertake an adverse action process similar to that of the FCRA. They want to add a pre-adverse action process of their own. Although employers already have an adverse action process that is specific to information contained in consumer reports, the EEOC's adverse action process may be different.

The information that is provided on this page does not discuss requirements under the EEOC nor does it explain how to use criminal records that fall under the regulation of the EEOC. It is suggested that compliance with the EEOC be discussed with legal counsel.

For more detailed information on New Jersey state laws, please consult your legal counsel.

Background Check Law Ban the Box Law Court Fee Court Cases Summary of Rights

Employment Background Check Laws In New Jersey:

New Jersey Revised Statutes §34:6b-1 to §34:6b-19, Labor and Workmen's Compensation.

The full statutes for sections §34:6b-1 to §34:6b-19 can be found on New Jersey’s Department of Labor and Workforce Development website, listed below.

https://lwd.state.nj.us/labor/wagehour/lawregs/selected_nj_state_labor_law.html

Ninja's summary

Employers may not inquire into an applicant’s criminal history during the initial stage of the employment process. Questions regarding criminal history may not be on the employment application form. Employers are prohibited from posting job advertisements that indicate prior records may be grounds for disqualification. Inquiries into criminal history can only be made after the candidate has attended their first interview or the candidate has received a conditional offer of employment.

New Jersey Revised Statutes §56:11-31 and §56:11-33: Furnishing of consumer report; permissible circumstances.

56:11-31 Furnishing of consumer report; permissible circumstances.

4. a. A consumer reporting agency may furnish a consumer report under the following circumstances and no other:

(1) In response to the order of a court having jurisdiction to issue such an order, or a subpoena issued in connection with proceedings before a State or federal grand jury.

(2) In accordance with the written instructions of the consumer to whom it relates.

(3) To a person which it has reason to believe:

(a) intends to use the information in connection with a credit transaction involving the consumer on whom the information is to be furnished and involving the extension of credit to, or review or collection of an account of, the consumer;

(b) intends to use the information for employment purposes;

(c) intends to use the information in connection with the underwriting of insurance involving the consumer;

(d) intends to use the information in connection with a determination of the consumer’s eligibility for a license or other benefit granted by a governmental instrumentality required by law to consider an applicant’s financial responsibility or status;

(e) intends to use the information, as a potential investor or servicer, or current insurer, in connection with a valuation of, or an assessment of the credit or prepayment risks associated with, an existing credit obligation; or

(f) otherwise has a legitimate business need for the information:

(i) in connection with a business transaction that is initiated by the consumer; or

(ii) to review an account to determine whether the consumer continues to meet the terms of the account.

(4) In response to a request by the head of a State or local child support enforcement agency (or a State or local government official authorized by the head of such an agency), if the person making the request certifies to the consumer reporting agency that:

(a) the consumer report is needed for the purpose of establishing an individual’s capacity to make child support payments or determining the appropriate level of those payments;

(b) the paternity of the consumer for the child to which the obligation relates has been established or acknowledged by the consumer in accordance with State laws under which the obligation arises (if required by those laws);

(c) the person has provided at least 10 days’ prior notice to the consumer whose report is requested, by certified or registered mail to the last known address of the consumer, that the report will be requested; and

(d) the consumer report will be kept confidential, will be used solely for a purpose described in paragraph (1) of this subsection, and will not be used in connection with any other civil, administrative, or criminal proceeding, or for any other purpose.

(5) To an agency administering a state plan under 42 U.S.C. s.654 for use to set an initial or modified child support award.

b. A consumer reporting agency may furnish a consumer report for employment purposes only if:

(1) the person who obtains the report from the agency certifies to the agency that:

(a) the person has complied with subsection c. of this section with respect to the consumer report, and the person will comply with subsection d. of this section with respect to the consumer report if that subsection becomes applicable; and

(b) information from the consumer report will not be used in violation of any applicable federal or state equal employment opportunity law or regulation; and

(2) the consumer reporting agency provides with the report a summary of the consumer’s rights under the federal “Fair Credit Reporting Act,” 15 U.S.C. s.1681 et seq.

c. A person may not procure a consumer report, or cause a consumer report to be procured, for employment purposes with respect to any consumer, unless:

(1) a clear and conspicuous disclosure has been made in writing to the consumer at any time before the report is procured or caused to be procured, in a document that consists solely of the disclosure, that a consumer report may be obtained for employment purposes; and

(2) the consumer has authorized in writing the procurement of the report by that person.

d. A consumer reporting agency shall not furnish for employment purposes, or in connection with a credit or insurance transaction or a direct marketing transaction, a consumer report that contains medical information about a consumer unless the consumer consents to the furnishing of the report in writing.

e. In using a consumer report for employment purposes, before taking any adverse action based in whole or in part on the report, the person intending to take an adverse action shall provide to the consumer to whom the report relates:

(1) a copy of the report; and

(2) a description in writing of the rights of the consumer under this act and the federal “Fair Credit Reporting Act,” 15 U.S.C. s.1681 et seq.

f. Consumer reporting agencies may furnish a consumer report relating to any consumer pursuant to subparagraph (a) or (c) of paragraph (3) of subsection a. of this section in connection with any credit or insurance transaction that is not authorized by the consumer only if the consumer reporting agency complies with the requirements of subsections (c) and (e) of section 604 of the federal “Fair Credit Reporting Act,” 15 U.S.C. s.1681b.

g. A person shall not use or obtain a consumer report for any purpose unless:

(1) the consumer report is obtained for a purpose for which the consumer report is authorized to be furnished under this section; and

(2) the purpose for its use is certified in accordance with section 5 of this act by a prospective user of the report.

 

56:11-33 Procurement, preparation of investigative consumer report.

6. a. A person may not procure or cause to be prepared an investigative consumer report on any consumer unless:

(1) It is clearly and accurately disclosed in writing to the consumer, prior to requesting the consumer reporting agency to prepare the report, that an investigative consumer report commonly includes information regarding the consumer’s character, general reputation, personal characteristics, and mode of living, and the disclosure includes the precise nature and scope of the investigation requested and the right of the consumer to have a copy of the report upon request; and

(2) the consumer provides the person requesting the report written permission to obtain the investigative consumer report prior to the person making the request to the consumer reporting agency.

b. The consumer reporting agency shall, upon the request of the consumer, provide to the consumer a copy of the report upon its completion.

c. No person may be held liable for any violation of any provision of this section if that person proves by a preponderance of the evidence that at the time of the violation reasonable procedures to assure compliance with the provisions of this section were maintained.

Ninja's summary

Employers must provide an applicant a notice of state rights along with a copy of the FCRA summary of rights PRIOR to taking adverse action against that applicant. In addition, under §56:11-33, an employer must notify an applicant that they are procuring an investigative consumer report regarding the applicant and that the applicant has a right to have a copy of the report.

New Jersey Revised Statutes § 34:6B-6: Prohibited Actions by Employers.

No employer shall require or request a current or prospective employee to provide or disclose any user name or password, or in any way provide the employer access to, a personal account through an electronic communications device.

Ninja's summary

Employers may not directly or indirectly require an applicant or an employee to disclose their login credentials that provides access to their social media accounts.

Update: Feb 2018

Fair Credit Reporting Act (FCRA):

The Fair Credit Reporting Act (FCRA) is a set of federal guidelines that helps regulate hiring practices. The FCRA was created to ensure privacy, accuracy, and fairness of consumer information. The FCRA accomplishes this by having a set standard for collecting, disseminating, and using consumer information.

Employers obtaining consumer reports for background screening purposes must follow specific procedures. For example, employers must disclose to the candidate what the background screening is, what information it includes, and how they intend to use it. They must obtain the written consent of the candidate before obtaining a background screening. They may not misuse the information contained in the background screening. There are also strict procedures an employer must follow should they decide not to hire a potential candidate based on the information in the background screening.

The purpose of the FCRA is to help protect employers, employees, and potential job candidates.

Disclaimer

This material is time sensitive. Contact us for updates. This information is subject to frequent change through legislative and court action.

All materials in this page and accompanying information are for general educational purposes and not intended to provide legal, scientific or medical advice. Consult with an appropriate professional to address specific issues.

New Jersey Ban the Box (§34:6B-14 and §34:6B-15)

Employers may not inquire into an applicant’s criminal history during the initial stage of the employment process. Questions regarding criminal history may not be on the employment application form. Employers are prohibited from posting job advertisements that indicate prior records may be grounds for disqualification. Inquiries into criminal history can only be made after the candidate has attended their first interview or the candidate has received a conditional offer of employment.

34:6B-14 Prohibited actions by employer during initial employment application process.

4. a. Except as otherwise provided in section 6 of this act:

(1)An employer shall not require an applicant for employment to complete any employment application that makes any inquiries regarding an applicant’s criminal record during the initial employment application process.

(2)An employer shall not make any oral or written inquiry regarding an applicant’s criminal record during the initial employment application process.

b.Notwithstanding the provisions of subsection a. of this section, if an applicant discloses any information regarding the applicant’s criminal record, by voluntary oral or written disclosure, during the initial employment application process, the employer may make inquiries regarding the applicant’s criminal record during the initial employment application process.

c.Nothing set forth in this section shall be construed to prohibit an employer from requiring an applicant for employment to complete an employment application that makes any inquiries regarding an applicant’s criminal record after the initial employment application process has concluded or from making any oral or written inquiries regarding an applicant’s criminal record after the initial employment application process has concluded. The provisions of this section shall not preclude an employer from refusing to hire an applicant for employment based upon the applicant’s criminal record, unless the criminal record or relevant portion thereof has been expunged or erased through executive pardon, provided that such refusal is consistent with other applicable laws, rules and regulations.

34:6B-15 Prohibitions relative to employer advertisements.

5.Unless otherwise permitted or required by law, an employer shall not knowingly or purposefully publish, or cause to be published, any advertisement that solicits applicants for employment where that advertisement explicitly provides that the employer will not consider any applicant who has been arrested or convicted of one or more crimes or offenses. The provisions of this section shall not apply to any advertisement that solicits applicants for a position in law enforcement, corrections, the judiciary, homeland security, or emergency management, or any other employment position where a criminal history record background check is required by law, rule or regulation, or where an arrest or conviction by the person for one or more crimes or offenses would or may preclude the person from holding such employment as required by any law, rule or regulation, or where any law, rule, or regulation restricts an employer’s ability to engage in specified business activities based on the criminal records of its employees. Nothing set forth in this section shall be construed as prohibiting an employer from publishing, or causing to be published, an advertisement that contains any provision setting forth any other qualifications for employment, as permitted by law, including, but not limited to, the holding of a current and valid professional or occupational license, certificate, registration, permit or other credential, or a minimum level of education, training or professional, occupational, or field experience.


Update: Feb 2018

Disclaimer

This material is time sensitive. Contact us for updates. This information is subject to frequent change through legislative and court action.

All materials in this page and accompanying information are for general educational purposes and not intended to provide legal, scientific or medical advice. Consult with an appropriate professional to address specific issues.

County: Court Fee:
Atlantic $0.00
Bergen $0.00
Burlington $0.00
Camden $0.00
Cape May $0.00
Cumberland $0.00
Essex $0.00
Federal $0.00
Gloucester $0.00
Hudson $0.00
Hunterdon $0.00
Mercer $0.00
Middlesex $0.00
Monmouth $0.00
Morris $0.00
Ocean $0.00
Passaic $0.00
Salem $0.00
Somerset $0.00
Sussex $0.00
Union $0.00
Warren $0.00

A SUMMARY OF YOUR RIGHTS UNDER THE NEW JERSEY FAIR CREDIT REPORTING ACT

The state of New Jersey Fair Credit Reporting Act (NJFCRA) is designed to promote accuracy, fairness, consumer confidentiality and the proper use of credit data by each consumer reporting agency (“CRA”) in
accordance with the requirements of the NJFCRA.

The NJFCRA is modeled after the Federal Fair Credit Reporting Act. You have received a Summary of Your Rights Under the Federal Fair Credit Reporting Act. The two Acts are almost identical, as are your rights under
them. You can find the complete text of the NJFCRA at the Department of Consumer Affairs. You may seek damages for violations of the NJFCRA. If a CRA, a user or (in some cases) a provider of CRA data violates the
NJFCRA, you may have a legal cause of action.

For questions or concerns regarding the NJFCRA please contact:
DIVISION OF CONSUMER AFFAIRS
Department of Law and Public Safety
124 Halsey Street
Newark, NJ 07102
Phone: 800-242-5846
973-504-6200

New Jersey Consumers Have the Right to Obtain a Security Freeze

You may obtain a security freeze on your credit report to protect your privacy and ensure that credit is not granted in your name without your knowledge. You have a right to place a "security freeze" on your credit report pursuant to New Jersey law.

The security freeze will prohibit a consumer reporting agency from releasing any information in your credit report without your express authorization or approval.

The security freeze is designed to prevent credit, loans, and services from being approved in your name without your consent. When you place a security freeze on your credit report, within five business days you will be provided a personal identification number or password to use if you choose to remove the freeze on your credit report or to temporarily authorize the release of your credit report for a specific party, parties or period of time after the freeze is in place. To provide that authorization, you must contact the consumer reporting agency and provide all of the following:

  1. The unique personal identification number or password provided by the consumer reporting agency;
  2. Proper identification to verify your identity; and
  3. The proper information regarding the third party or parties who are to receive the credit report or the period of time for which the report shall be available to users of the credit report.

A consumer reporting agency that receives a request from a consumer to lift temporarily a freeze on a credit report shall comply with the request no later than three business days or less, as provided by regulation, after receiving the request.

A security freeze does not apply to circumstances in which you have an existing account relationship and a copy of your report is requested by your existing creditor or its agents or affiliates for certain types of account review, collection, fraud control or similar activities.

If you are actively seeking credit, you should understand that the procedures involved in lifting a security freeze may slow your own applications for credit. You should plan ahead and lift a freeze, either completely if you are shopping around, or specifically for a certain creditor, a few days before actually applying for new credit.

You have a right to bring a civil action against someone who violates your rights under the credit reporting laws. The action can be brought against a consumer reporting agency or a user of your credit report.

KEY COURT DECISIONS
Court Case Issue Outcome Employer Limitation/ Action

Cuccinello v. Uber

Plaintiff claims Uber unlawfully obtained background screening reports because they did not follow proper disclosure and authorization procedures.

Settlement. Cuccinello was the lead plaintiff in this class action lawsuit.

Employers must ensure that they adhere to strict procedures regarding disclosure and authorization.

Feldstein v. Amazon

Plaintiff alleges Amazon denied him employment based on a negative background screening report, however, they did not notify him via proper adverse action nor did they let him correct any inaccuracies within the report.

Certified Class Action. Feldstein was lead plaintiff in this class action lawsuit.

Employers must ensure that they follow proper adverse action procedures when making a negative hiring decision.

Muir v. Early Warning Services, FADV, et al.

Plaintiff alleges that she was denied employment due to inaccuracies in her screening report. FADV reported that she was terminated from previous employment due to internal fraud. Plaintiff disputed this fact, and FADV simply added a disclaimer saying the information provided by her previous employer could not be verified.

Certified Class Action. Muir is the lead plaintiff in this class action lawsuit.

Employers must review the entire background screening report on an applicant before making a hiring decision, and must follow proper adverse action procedures if making a negative hiring decision. This includes allowing the applicant to review, correct an inaccuracies, and discuss the information found within the screening report.

Napier v. J.B. Hunt Transport Inc.

Plaintiff claims JB Hunt Transport violated the FCRA by obtaining background screenings on applicants without their consent, failing to notify them of their right to access a copy of the reports, and rejecting some applicants based on the information contained in the reports. Plaintiff was denied employment after a CREDIT CHECK included inaccurate information about his DRIVING RECORD.

Dismissed due to lack of jurisdiction and improper venue. Class Action can still be pursued in a proper venue.

Employers must review the entire background screening report on an applicant before making a hiring decision, and must follow proper adverse action procedures if making a negative hiring decision. This includes allowing the applicant to review, correct an inaccuracies, and discuss the information found within the screening report.

Fuller v. Avis Budget Car Rental LLC, et al.

Plaintiff alleges that Avis did not provide her with a proper disclosure that did not consist solely of the disclosure, and that Avis did not follow proper adverse action procedures.

Settlement of $2.7 Million.

Employers must ensure they follow strict procedures complying with the FCRA’s requirements for disclosure and authorization as well as adverse action.

TO PAGETOP