As many employers know, on August 6, 2010, Governor Patrick signed into law legislation that substantially changed the Commonwealth’s Criminal Offender Record Information law (“CORI”). The overhauled Massachusetts law now prohibits employers from inquiring on an initial application form about a prospective employee’s criminal offender record information. Among other provisions, the CORI law requires employers who conduct five or more criminal background investigations per year to have a written criminal offender record information policy. As with any law, there are ambiguities that may be eventually clarified through written court opinions. For the time being, the Massachusetts Commission Against Discrimination seeks to fill the gap with a fact sheet, which is located on the front page of its website and may also be accessed here. http://www.mass.gov/mcad/documents/Criminal%20Records%20Fact%20Sheet.pdf
One caveat: although the fact sheet represents the MCAD’s view of the CORI law and it is useful to employers in considering how the MCAD may enforce the law, the courts in the future may agree or disagree with the MCAD on its clarification of the law.