Mayor de Blasio Signs Legislation to “Ban the Box” in NYC
Last week, New York City Mayor Bill de Blasio signed the “Fair Chance Act” into law. The ordinance restricts when employer inquiries about applicants’ criminal histories may be made during the application process and imposes significant obligations on employers who intend to take action based on such information.
The ordinance will become effective on October 27th, 2015, 120 days after receiving Mayor Bill de Blasio’s signature.
Like other ban-the-box laws, the ordinance generally prohibits an employer with at least four employees from making an inquiry about an applicant’s pending arrest or criminal conviction record until after a conditional offer of employment has been extended. Limited exceptions are provided.
Under the ordinance’s definition of inquiry, employers are prohibited not only from asking an applicant prohibited questions – verbally or in writing – but also are prohibited from searching publicly available sources to obtain information about an applicant’s criminal history.
Employers who make inquiries into an applicant’s criminal history after a conditional offer of employment has been extended and determine that the information warrants an adverse employment action must follow a rigorous process. Specifically, employers must:
Provide the applicant with a “written copy of the inquiry” which complies with the City’s Commission on Human Right’s required (but not-yet-issued) format;
Perform the analysis required by Article 23(a) of the New York Correction Law, “Licensure and Employment of Persons Previously Convicted of One or More Criminal Offenses”;
Provide the applicant with a copy of its analysis, also in a manner which complies with the Commission’s required format, which includes supporting documents and an explanation of the employer’s decision to take an adverse employment action; and
Allow the applicant at least three business days to respond to the written analysis by holding the position open during this time.
Employers and business owners can contact Compass Workforce Solutions for help with compliance issues such as this and many, many more. Speak with one of our HR Business Partners today at 631.794.7400.