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Posted on October 25, 2017
Associated Industries of Massachusetts (AIM) this morning announced its opposition to the state Senate’s criminal justice reform bill because the measure would unduly restrict the ability of employers to ensure the safety of employees, customers and others in the workplace.
The proposed legislation will, in fact, harm the very people the proponents of the bill seek to help. AIM-member employers met with the legislative sponsor of the bill in July and made clear that candidates for jobs are less successful in achieving gainful employment when employers have less information.
“An employer is more likely to hire an ex-offender when that employer has the information available to make a balanced decision,” said John Regan, Executive Vice President of Government Affairs at AIM.
AIM has a long history of involvement with efforts to balance the need for employers to conduct responsible criminal background checks with the ability of offenders to find employment.
The association helped to forge the 2009 Criminal Offender Records Information (CORI) legislative compromise and worked on the recent regulatory changes to CORI. The business community made significant concessions in the 2009 bill, but the current legislation goes far beyond what employers agreed to in 2009.
Employers believe that criminal background checks are necessary to ensure that the company or institution is complying with state and federal regulations, in addition to international standards. These standards apply for a variety of businesses including hospitals and financial institutions.
Employers also believe that inability to access criminal histories makes companies vulnerable to claims for everything from negligent hiring and failure to meet regulatory obligations to failure to protect client data and failure to protect visitors from harm.
“Employers face significant risk and legal liability for hiring and retaining employees who pose a risk. As written, the legislation does not acknowledge that employers would still be responsible for negligent hiring and negligent retention without a waiver of liability,” Regan said.
The Senate is expected to debate S.2185 and several amendments tomorrow.