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General Laws

Section 171A. In connection with any decision regarding employment, volunteer opportunities, housing or professional licensing, a person in possession of an applicant’s criminal offender record information shall provide the applicant with the criminal history record in the person’s possession, whether obtained from the department or any other source prior to questioning the applicant about his criminal history. If the person makes a decision adverse to the applicant on the basis of his criminal history, the person shall also provide the applicant with the criminal history record in the person’s possession, whether obtained from the department or any other source; provided, however, that if the person has provided the applicant with a copy of his criminal offender record information prior to questioning the person is not required to provide the information a second time in connection with an adverse decision based on this information.

Failure to provide such criminal history information to an applicant pursuant to this section may subject the offending person to investigation, hearing and sanctions by the board. Nothing in this section shall be construed to prohibit a person from making an adverse decision on the basis of an individual’s criminal history or to provide or permit a claim of an unlawful practice under chapter 151B or an independent cause of action in a court of civil jurisdiction for a claim arising out of an adverse decision based on criminal history except as otherwise provided under chapter 151B.

A person who annually conducts 5 or more criminal background investigations, whether criminal offender record information is obtained from the department or any other source, shall maintain a written criminal offender record information policy providing that, in addition to any obligations required by the commissioner by regulation, it will: (i) notify the applicant of the potential adverse decision based on the criminal offender record information; (ii) provide a copy of the criminal offender record information and the policy to the applicant; and (iii) provide information concerning the process for correcting a criminal record.

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