On June 2, the Governor of Colorado signed the Job Application Fairness Act (JAFA) into law. With it signed, Colorado employers can expect the law to take effect on July 1, 2024. This law bans employers from asking a job applicant about their age during the hiring process. Examples of what JAFA forbids employers from inquiring about include the following:
- Date of Birth
- Dates of attendance and graduation at an educational institution
This law also describes specific requirements for employers asking applicants to supply diplomas, transcripts, or other proof of education. They must inform applicants of the ability to redact information showing their age, date of birth, dates of attendance, or date of graduation. These restrictions are similar to those in Colorado’s Chance to Compete Act, which restricts inquiries on criminal backgrounds during the initial employment application process.
However, the law has exceptions to the restrictions. Employers may require applicants to verify age compliance requirements due to the following:
- “A bona fide occupational qualification pertaining to public or occupational safety;
- A federal law or regulation; or
- A state or local law or regulation based on a bona fide occupational qualification.”
However, employers cannot require applicants to disclose their age, date of birth, the date they graduated, or the dates they attended an educational institution. The law also does not create a private right of action. As such, employees cannot sue an employer for violating the law.
Employees who believe an employer violated JAFA may file a complaint. They have twelve months in which to file the complaint. Once filed, the Colorado Department of Labor and Employment (CDLE) will investigate the complaint. Should the CDLE determine an employer violated the law, it may penalize them as follows:
- “First violation: A warning and order requiring compliance within fifteen (15) business days;
- Second violation: An order requiring compliance within 15 business days and a civil penalty not to exceed one thousand dollars ($1,000); or
- Third and subsequent violations: An order requiring compliance within 15 business days and a civil penalty not to exceed two thousand five hundred dollars (2,500).”
Employers must understand that the CDLE will count each job posting that does not comply with JAFA as a separate violation. As a result, each posting could result in very high fines for a company if several violate the law.
Businesses have until July 1, 2024, to be ready to follow the law, giving them time to prepare. The best way for a business to ensure compliance with this and other laws related to background screening is to partner with a trustworthy background check company.