On December 15, 2015, Philadelphia’s former Mayor, Michael Nutter, signed off on an amendment (“the Amendment”) to the Fair Criminal Record Screenings Standards Ordinance (“the Ordinance”). The Amendment, which tightens the already-stringent regulations on Philadelphia employers, becomes effective this Wednesday, March 16, 2016. The Amendment does not affect employers’ right to engage in any inquiries or adverse actions that are specifically authorized or mandated by any other applicable law or regulation.
The Expansion of the Ordinance
The Amendment, which takes the city’s stance on “banning the box” one step farther, prohibits employers from inquiring into an applicant’s criminal conviction history until after a conditional offer of employment has been made. Moreover, the Amendment expands the Ordinance’s reach, banning questions regarding an applicant’s willingness to eventually submit to a background check and emphasizing that any prohibited application inquiries are unlawful, even if placed alongside a disclaimer that certain applicants need not answer the question.
Even more onerously, the Amendment places new regulations on employers’ internal hiring policies and practices. It is now unlawful for an employer to maintain or adopt any policy automatically excluding an applicant with a criminal conviction from a class of jobs. Employers may only reject prospective employees based on a criminal record if the record includes a conviction that “bears such relationship to the employment sought that the employer may reasonably conclude that the applicant would present an unacceptable risk to the operation of the business or to co-workers or customers, and that exclusion of the applicant is compelled by business necessity.”
Continue Reading City of Philadelphia Amendments to Ban-The-Box Legislation Take Effect This Week