Governor Chris Christie signed the "Opportunity to Compete Act" into law on August 11, 2014, also known as the "Ban the Box" law. This new law will no longer allow employers to ask applicants to check a box saying whether they have been convicted of a crime. This is a needed fix to a "silent" problem which has long existed, but which has gone unaddressed because the victims are ex-cons, a constituency most people don't much care about.
So often, the minute an employer sees the box "convicted of a crime" checked, the applicant is out of luck, no matter their other qualities, no matter their earnestness. The new law prevents the employer from making this initial "cut" in the application form process. Yet there are limitations to the law. Employers are only barred from asking during the initial application process whether the applicant has been convicted of a crime. That means that background checks can still occur after the initial process. Past criminal histories can still be a determining factor as to whether or not an individual will be considered for a position by an employer but at least those individuals will be initially considered if qualified for that position. And if an employer violates the law, there's no lawsuit which can be filed by a victim discriminated against in this fashion. It's a law without teeth, but at least there's gums.