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Colorado Enacts “Clean Slate” Legislation Aimed at Sealing Non-Violent Criminal Records

On June 1, 2022, Governor Polis signed Senate Bill 22-099 (SB22-099) which seeks to assist individuals that have a criminal history, by automatically sealing criminal records for non-violent offenses, thus “addressing workforce shortages, minimizing barriers to employment for job seekers, and making an appropriation.”

According to SB22-099, beginning in 2024, the state will take steps to begin automatically sealing records based on whether a designated time period has passed and as long as the individual has not been convicted of any other crimes in connection with the one in process of being sealed. Specifically, the following convictions have been deemed eligible:

  • Civil infractions where four years have passed since the final disposition of the case in question;
  • Petty misdemeanors and offenses where seven years have passed since the final disposition of the case; and
  • Felonies where ten years have passed since the final disposition.

However, the legislation explicitly excludes violent and sexual crimes that fall under the Colorado Crime Victim Rights Act (VRA). Furthermore, the automatic sealing of records will not occur for individuals indebted to the court. Any outstanding fines, court costs, late fees, or any other fees ordered under the court ruling will prevent the automatic sealing process from happening. In order to rectify this, the individual would need to either provide compensation to the court or the court would need to vacate the order of restitution.

The legislation also places restrictions on the information provided through background checks. As a result, Consumer Reporting Agencies are no longer able to provide information on any expunged or automatically sealed charges on consumer reports. This information may only be shared when it is “pursuant to a federal or state statute, rule, or regulation.”

Next Steps for Employers

Employers in Colorado that utilize background checks and other pre-employment screenings need to ensure that the information provided through any consumer reports only contains relevant information and specifically excludes any recent sealings or expungements. Employers subjecting applicants to pre-screening procedures should ensure that the third-party agencies they are partnering with are abreast of legislative changes.

HR Works, Inc., headquartered at 200 WillowBrook Office Park in Fairport (Rochester), New York, with an office in East Syracuse, is a human resource management outsourcing and consulting firm serving clients throughout the United States. HR Works provides scalable strategic human resource management and consulting services, including: affirmative action programs; benefits administration outsourcing; HRIS self-service technology; full-time, part-time and interim on-site HR managers; HR audits; legally reviewed employee handbooks and supervisor manuals; talent management and recruiting services; and training of managers and HR professionals.