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Ohio Department of Rehabilitation and Correction Certificate of Qualification for Employment (CQE)

Senate Bill 337 became effective September 29, 2012, and created a “Certificate of Qualification for Employment” (CQE) in Ohio Revised Code 2953.25.  The CQE will allow persons living in the community who have a previous felony or misdemeanor conviction to apply to the court to lift the collateral sanction that bars them from being considered for employment in a particular field.

 

The administrative rule for the Certificate of Qualification for Employment has been drafted and filed. The public hearing was held on December 27, 2012, and is expected to be on JCARR's agenda mid January. We are anticipating the Administrative Rule will be adopted in early February. The DRC and Courts of Common Pleas will then be able to accept petitions.  Applications will soon be accepted at http://www.drccqe.com/

 

Certificate of Qualification for Employment (SB 337)

 

  • Issued by the Court of Common Pleas where the ex-offender resides. 
  • Creates a process by which an individual, who is subject to a "civil impact" or "collateral sanction", may obtain an order of limited relief from a court that will provide relief from certain bars on employment or occupational licensing in the state of Ohio.  A collateral sanction is a penalty, disability, or disadvantage that is related to employment or occupational licensing as a result of a conviction of or plea of guilty to an offense and that applies by operation of law in this state regardless if the penalty, disability, or disadvantage is included in the sentence or judgment.
  • The certificate may be used for general employment opportunities as well.  
  • If seeking relief from a felony conviction, the petition can be filed one year after release from incarceration and all periods of supervision after release. If the offender was not incarcerated, the petition can be filed one year from the date of the individual’s final release from all sanctions imposed (for example: Community Control).
  • If seeking relief from a misdemeanor conviction, the petition can be filed six months after release from incarceration and all periods of supervision after release. If the offender was not incarcerated, the petition can be filed six months from the date of the individual’s final release from all sanctions imposed.
  • The petition, instructions on completing the petition, and other valuable information can be found by visiting: http://www.drccqe.com/
  • Justice Reinvestment Officers (JROs) review the petition for completeness and forward the petition to the court on behalf of the ex-offender for those ex-offenders who have served time in an ODRC institution or have received services in an ODRC funded program. Otherwise, the offender can file their own petition directly to the court where Local Rule allows.
  • After DRC review, the petition is electronically forwarded to the court for consideration.  At this time, the petitioner is instructed to print a copy of their petition and file it as a civil matter with the Clerk of Courts Civil Division in the County Common Pleas Court where they reside.
  • Upon receiving the petition AND all investigatory information that the court deems necessary, the court has 60 days to render its decision.
  • If granted, the petitioner will have the opportunity to print the certificate directly from drccqe.com where it will be automatically generated and stored by the online process.
  • Issuance of the certificate, and presentation forthwith to the applicable agency, will then permit the appropriate decision maker to review on a case by case basis whether to issue or re-issue a license and/or permit an employment opportunity within the desired occupation.
  • Hiring of a petitioner who has been granted a certificate provides the prospective employer with immunity from negligent hiring claims when the employer is aware of the certificate at hiring.  If the employer fails to take action when dangerous or criminal behavior is exhibited after hiring and retains the employee after such behavior, the employer can then be held liable.
  • Certificates may be revoked if the offender is convicted of or pleads guilty to a felony offense committed subsequent to the issuance of the certificate.
  • It should be noted that this provision of SB337 contains other important elements, limitations, and expectations and should be viewed in its entirety for full clarification.

Official List of Approved CQE Certificates:

 

Click HERE for a list of all approved CQE Certificates. This list will be updated two times per month. The Ohio Department of Rehabilitation and Correction cannot warrant the continued validity of the certificate.  Persons intending to rely on the certificate should first investigate the current criminal history of the named individual. If the named individual was convicted of any felony offense after receiving the certificate, the certificate should be presumed to be revoked.  

 

Legislation


 

If you have any questions regarding this process, please contact: 

Sara Andrews, Deputy Director
Division of Parole and Community Services
sara.andrews@odrc.state.oh.us
614.752.1235