Back in 2015, New York City joined the “Ban the Box” bandwagon and passed a law that delays when criminal background checks can be run on most Big Apple job applicants. Specifically, the Fair Chance Act (FCA) prohibits NYC employers from inquiring about a job applicant’s criminal conviction history until after a conditional offer of employment is extended and requires that employers undertake a multi-step process if they want to rescind a job offer based on the results of a criminal history inquiry.

Against this backdrop, on January 10, 2021, the New York City Council passed important amendments to the FCA, which amendments went into effect July 29, 2021. As detailed below, the amendments significantly expand the scope of the FCA and impose additional affirmative obligations on New York City employers.
Continue Reading Sweeping amendments to New York City’s “Ban the Box” law are now in effect

On October 27, 2015, New York City adopted a so-called “ban the box” law, titled the Fair Chance Act, that severely restricts what employers can ask during the hiring process. Specifically, the Fair Chance Act prohibits most employers from inquiring about an applicant’s criminal record until after the employer extends a conditional offer of employment.

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

Just weeks after prohibiting employers from using credit checks, the New York City Council Wednesday passed yet another bill that handcuffs businesses attempting to vet new job applicants. Most notably, the bill, commonly referred to as the Fair Chance Act (the Act), bars employers from inquiring about a job applicant’s criminal history before extending a conditional offer of employment to the applicant. In other words, the Act “bans the box” – typically found on employment applications – that asks about a candidate’s criminal background.

The Act is an amendment to the already-liberal NYC Human Rights Law (NYCHRL) and, beyond “banning the box,” it also creates other new legal protections for current and prospective employees who have criminal histories. Pundits expect that Mayor Bill de Blasio will immediately endorse the Act – possibly in the next few days.Continue Reading BREAKING: NYC “Bans the Box,” Barring Most Pre-Employment Criminal Inquiries

This post was also written by Gregory J. Sagstetter.

On April 3, Virginia Governor Terry McAuliffe issued Executive Order #41, thereby adding Virginia to the growing list of jurisdictions (including California, Colorado, Connecticut, Delaware, Georgia, Hawaii, Illinois, Maryland, Massachusetts, Minnesota, Nebraska, New Jersey, New Mexico, Rhode Island, Washington, D.C., and more than 100 cities and

As previously reported, New Jersey’s version of the “ban the box” law, entitled “Opportunity to Compete Act” (the Act), goes into effect March 1, 2015. The Act limits covered employers’ ability to inquire into a job applicant’s criminal record.

In less than a week, public and private employers that have 15 or more employees hired

To prevent job applicants with criminal records from automatic hiring rejection, cities and states are considering and already adopting so-called “Ban the Box” laws and ordinances. Among the states that have adopted such a law are Connecticut, Hawaii, Massachusetts, Minnesota, and New Mexico, and the cities of Atlanta, Baltimore, Chicago and Philadelphia. Among the states mulling such legislation are Rhode Island and Nebraska, and the city of Pittsburgh.

This Alert lauds the policy considerations behind “Ban the Box” type of legislation but points out how it can unintentionally create impossible-hiring decisions and pose huge legal risks for employers.

“Ban the Box” legislation, as discussed in the “Philadelphia Joins the Movement To Ban Inquiries into Arrests and Convictions on Employment Applications,” restricts and, in Philadelphia and other locales, limits covered employers from asking about an applicant’s criminal record during the hiring process. The laws in Connecticut, Hawaii, Minnesota, New Mexico, and Massachusetts, and the bill proposed in Rhode Island, forbid covered employers from asking an applicant about a conviction until after assessment of his or her qualifications for the job. Though the laws in Connecticut, Minnesota and New Mexico apply only to public (meaning government) employers, there is mounting support to amend them to cover private employers, as in Hawaii, Massachusetts, and Philadelphia.Continue Reading The Dangers to U.S. & Worldwide Employers from ‘Ban the Box’ Legislation

On April 13, 2011, Philadelphia Mayor Michael Nutter signed a new city ordinance that bans Philadelphia employers from asking applicants about their convictions during the initial phases of the hiring process and precludes them from ever asking about arrests which failed to result in a conviction. Due to become effective on July 12, 2011, the