Late last month, the South Carolina General Assembly overrode Governor Henry McMasters’ veto of legislation intended to make it easier for residents to remove minor criminal convictions from their records. The new law was touted as an alternative to “ban the box” legislation that would expand employment opportunities for people with criminal records, while permitting employers to continue asking about criminal convictions during the hiring process.
The new law has several impacts on the hiring process for South Carolina employers. First, it discourages companies from making hiring or other decisions based on expunged criminal matters (although no specific penalties are mentioned). While employers can ask about criminal convictions, these inquiries should not include questions about expunged criminal records. Second, the new law grants immunity to employers from lawsuits for negligent hiring or negligent retention when the claims are based on expunged criminal matters.
The new law takes effect on December 27, 2018.