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Changes to Massachusetts C.O.R.I. System

Starting November 4, 2010, MA will change The Criminal Offender Record Information (CORI) System that is used to access criminal history information. The information available will be limited. Also, additional requirements will be imposed on requests and employers.

Employers will not be able to request criminal history on any "initial written employment application." Employers who are barred by federal or state law from hiring individuals convicted of certain crimes, or from filling positions for which convictions constitute a disqualification, are EXEMPT from this law. Starting on May 4, 2012, felony convictions older than 10 years, and misdemeanor convictions older than 5 years, will be sealed and unavailable to employers. Murder, manslaughter, and sexual offense information will remain available permanently. Certain employers, such as schools and nursing homes, will have access to even more information. Employers are still allowed to question applicants about their criminal history during an interview. If the employer has the background report on hand, they must provide the applicant with a copy before any questioning. If a copy of the report has not been given to the applicant, the employer must make sure that the applicant is given a copy when any adverse hiring decisions are made. Employers who do more than 5 background checks a year have to maintain a written criminal offender record information policy. Employers may only give criminal history information at the employee's or applicant's request; or can give it to other individuals within the business if those individuals meet a "need to know" policy. Employers must also maintain "secondary dissemination logs" stating who the information has been given to, for a period of one year after the fact.

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