Massachusetts Background Check Laws
What are Massachusetts background check and ban-the-box laws?
We update this overview of Massachusetts background check laws and ban-the-box rules often. But laws change quickly, and we cannot guarantee all information is current. Always consult your attorney for legal advice.
- District Laws
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Fair Credit Reporting Act (FCRA)
In order to set a standard for hiring policies, the federal government created the Fair Credit Reporting Act, or FCRA, which monitors and protects both employers and job candidates.
Our Take: If a job applicant is denied employment because of information found in the applicant’s credit information, the employer must notify the applicant in writing within 10 days of her or his adverse decision. The notice must be in 10-point type or larger and must include the name, physical address and toll-free phone number of the CRA. The adverse notice must also include specific language informing the applicant of her or his rights.
Our Take: Credit reporting agencies in Massachusetts cannot report on criminal records that are older than 7 years, nor can they report on information about an applicant’s bankruptcy if the date of judgment is more than 14 years old. However, these provisions do not apply if the consumer report is used in connection with: (1) a credit transaction that involves or is expected to involve $50,000 or more; or (2) a life insurance policy of $50,000 or more.
Our Take: Employers who receive criminal offender record information from DJCIS must meet special obligations under CORI reform legislation.
Our Take: Any employer that performs 5 or more background checks per year in Massachusetts must have a written criminal record information policy in place. This policy must be shared with applicants who request it.
Our Take: With some exceptions, it is generally unlawful for an employer to screen job applicants based on their wage, including benefits or other compensation or salary histories . . . or request or require as a condition of being interviewed, or as a condition of continuing to be considered for an offer of employment, that an applicant disclose prior wages or salary history.
BAN-THE-BOX AND FAIR HIRING LAWS
NOTICE! CORI Policy Required: A person who annually conducts 5 or more criminal background investigations, whether criminal offender record information is obtained from the department or any other source, including a commercial Consumer Reporting Agency, must haven a written criminal offender record information (CORI) policy providing that it will: (i) notify the applicant of the potential adverse decision based on the criminal offender record information; (ii) provide a copy of the criminal offender record information and the policy to the applicant; and (iii) provide information concerning the process for correcting a criminal record.
STATE LAWS — PUBLIC AND PRIVATE COMPANIES
Who Must Follow: This ban-the-box law and respective background screening requirements apply to all employers in Massachusetts, both public and private.
Adverse action implications:
Pre-adverse action: Employers must identify the specific information in the report that is the basis for the potential adverse action, even when criminal history information is obtained from a source other than the State’s DCJIS CORI system. This means that even employers using a commercial CRA must comply. You must also provide a copy of your CORI policy along with the pre-adverse action notice. Employers using the STATE CORI system to obtain criminal record information must also provide to the candidate a copy of DCJIS Information Concerning the Process in Correcting a Criminal Record.
LOCAL LAWS — PUBLIC AND PRIVATE COMPANIES
See which Massachusetts counties and cities have local ban-the-box and fair hiring laws.