Sex Offender Registry Information
Service : Compliance Services
Question: Are there any restrictions on an organization’s ability to use sex offender registry information in employment or educational decisions?
Response & Analysis:
Yes, but only in some states.
California’s Penal Code § 290.4(d) provides: “(1) A person is authorized to use information disclosed pursuant to this section only to protect a person at risk. (2) Except as authorized under paragraph (1) or any other provision of law, use of any information that is disclosed pursuant to this section for purposes relating to any of the following is prohibited: ... (E) Employment. ... (F) Education, scholarships, or fellowships.” Thus, organizations in California are not permitted to use sex offender registry information in employment or educational decisions unless it is used to protect a person at risk or unless otherwise authorized by another provision of law.
Nevada has a similar law in place, but the exception provided is slightly narrower. N.R.S. § 179B.270 provides: “Except as otherwise authorized pursuant to specific statute, a person shall not use information obtained from the community notification website for any purpose related to any of the following: ... 4. Employment. 5. Education, scholarships or fellowships.” Thus, an organization operating in Nevada is not permitted to use sex offender registry information to make an employment or educational decision unless the organization is authorized to do so by a specific statute.
New Jersey’s law has a similar effect, but only applies to educational decisions. N.J.S.A. § 2C:7-16(c) states: “Except as authorized under any other provision of law, use of any of the information disclosed pursuant to this act for the purpose of applying for, obtaining, or denying any of the following, is prohibited: ... (5) Education, scholarships, or fellowships.” So, organizations operating in New Jersey are generally prohibited from using the state’s sex offender registry in making a decision regarding education, scholarships or fellowships; however—unlike in California and Nevada—there is no restriction on an employer’s ability to use the same information in an employment decision.
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