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Colorado's Ban the Box Law Takes Effect September 1, 2019

Governor Jared Polis signed the Colorado Chance to Compete Act into law on May 28, 2019, making Colorado the 13th U.S. state to adopt "ban the box" legislation.

Under the Act, employers may not state in an advertisement or on an employment application (whether written or electronic) that a person with a criminal history may not apply for a position. Additionally, employers may not ask about an applicant's criminal history on the initial application. As with many ban-the-box laws, employers in Colorado are permitted to make criminal history inquiries after the initial advertisement and application stage is completed. It is noteworthy that employers will still be permitted to conduct and consider background checks under the new law.

Employers will be considered exempt from the Act if federal, state or local law prohibits an individual from holding a job position with a certain criminal background, or if employers are legally required to conduct a criminal history record review for a specific job.

For the first two years, the Act will only affect employers who maintain 11 or more employees. Starting September 1, 2021, the Act will apply to all employers, regardless of employee count.

Based on these timelines, employers maintaining 11 employees or more in the state of Colorado should review current applications and advertisements and revise as needed to ensure compliance with new legal requirements.

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