The Ban the Box law makes it illegal for most employers to ask about any cases on a job application in the first stage of hiring.
At a later stage, when you get interviewed for the job, the employer can ask your permission to get a copy of your CORI.
The employer can only check your criminal record history if you sign an acknowledgement form that says you know the employer is requesting your CORI or a criminal background check. This form will ask for personal information, such as your full name, your date and place of birth, your mother’s maiden name and father’s name, and your Social Security number to make sure it is your CORI the employer will receive.
It is against the law for employers to ask you to get a copy of your own CORI for them. A CORI that you get on your own will list ALL of your cases, including cases that ended in your favor such dismissed cases or cases where you were found not guilty. This is more information than most employers can get under the law. Many employers only get CORI about cases that ended in a conviction and open cases.
Many employers, landlords and housing authorities can get a CORI that shows only convictions and cases that are open.
Most misdemeanor cases can be sealed after a 5 year waiting period and most felony cases after a 10 year waiting period. If you have any convictions or other cases that are old enough to seal but you have not sealed them, the cases will be held back from CORI given to landlords, housing authorities and most employers.
If you have any cases that you could have sealed by mail, they will not show up on your CORI.
Most of the time, you still need to seal your criminal cases.
- If you do not get the cases sealed, many employers can still see old convictions and cases that were dismissed, or ended in a nolle prosequi - when the prosecutor dropped the case, or a not guilty finding. For example, schools, camps, nursing homes, children's programs, and assisted living facilities.
- If you have a recent conviction or you get convicted in the future, an employer or landlord can see all your past and present convictions that are not sealed.
- If your murder or manslaughter convictions and some sex offense convictions are not sealed, they will still show up. It does not matter how old the convictions are.
If your cases are sealed, most employers will not see your cases on the CORI. But the Department of Early Education and Care, which screens people for daycare jobs, gets to see all CORI including sealed cases. If you apply to be a foster parent or try to adopt, the Department of Children & Families or the Department of Youth Services can see all CORI including sealed cases.
See Sealing My CORI.
Landlords, housing authorities and most employers can only see your juvenile record if you were prosecuted as an adult. If that happened, the case appears on your CORI.
But summer camp employers can see your juvenile records unless the records are sealed.
Important CORI Alert
Get juvenile cases off your CORI!
If your Juvenile Court Youthful Offender case ended so that you went to state prison or the House of Corrections, or you were on probation after age 21 for this case, this juvenile case will be listed on your CORI.
Youth offender cases have a “YO” in the docket number.
Greater Boston Legal Services is trying to do something about this problem.
Once your cases are sealed, most employers, including summer camps, will not see your juvenile cases on the CORI. For information about how to seal juvenile records, see Sealing my juvenile record.
The Department of Early Education and Care screens people for daycare jobs. This department can see all CORI, including sealed juvenile cases.
If you apply to be a foster parent or try to adopt, the Department of Children & Families or the Department of Youth Services can see all CORI including sealed juvenile and adult criminal cases.
Employers may not ask
At any stage of hiring, most employers may not ask you about your juvenile court record, except for cases where you were tried as an adult in another court and convicted.
At any stage of hiring, most employers cannot ask you about sealed criminal cases and they will not see your sealed cases on the CORI.
Any stage of hiring, employers cannot ask you about any arrests or detention at a police station or other location unless the case ended in a conviction that is not sealed.
At any stage in job hiring, employers may not ask you about a first time conviction for the following misdemeanors:
- simple assault,
- minor traffic violations,
- affray, or
- disturbance of the peace.
Felony convictions - In later stages of hiring such as the final job interview, the employer can ask you if you ever had a felony conviction.
Misdemeanor convictions- The employer also can ask about any misdemeanor conviction where the date of the conviction or your jail time for it were within the last 5 years, but the employer cannot ask about the first time convictions described above ------drunkenness, simple assault, speeding, minor traffic violations, affray, or disturbing the peace.
If all your cases are sealed, you can say “I have no record.”
If not all your cases are sealed, you do not have to reveal anything about the cases that were sealed - even if you were convicted.
Produced by Greater Boston Legal Services Last updated October 2015