Last month, the U.S. Virgin Islands joined the ‘ban the box’ movement by enacting legislation regulating employers’ use of the criminal records of applicants and employees.
The new Virgin Islands law:
- Prohibits employers from asking an applicant to disclose any information concerning: (i) an arrest or detention that did not result in a conviction; (ii) “a referral to, or participation in, any pretrial or post trial diversion program”; or (iii) “a conviction that has been judicially dismissed or ordered sealed pursuant to law.”
- Prohibits employers from seeking any of these categories of information from another source.
- Prohibits employers from considering any such information when making decisions about hiring, promotion, termination, or selection for any training program resulting in hiring.
- Permits applicants affected by a violation of the law to recover the greater of $200 or actual damages, plus costs and attorneys’ fees.
subjects employers that violate the law to a criminal fine of up to $500 or imprisonment of up to six months.
Currently, 32 states and over 150 localities have enacted ‘ban the box’ laws for public employers; approximately 12 states and 17 localities have extended such laws to private-sector employers, and some jurisdictions have extended such laws to government contractors.
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