August 20, 2019

August 19, 2019

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New York City Enacts Ban-the-Box Legislation

New York City has adopted an ordinance restricting when employer inquiries about applicants’ criminal histories may be made during the application process and imposing significant obligations on employers who intend to take action based on such information. 

The Fair Chance Act ordinance will become effective on October 27, 2015, 120 days after Mayor Bill de Blasio signed the bill on June 29.

Similar to 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.

Exceptions

The main exception applies when an employer, under applicable federal, state, or local law, is required to conduct criminal background checks for employment purposes or to bar employment in a particular position based on criminal history. 

Other exceptions remove prospective police officers, peace officers, and law enforcement agency and other law-enforcement-related employees from coverage. Therefore, these are unlikely to affect positions and employers in the private sector.

Notification Process

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:

  1. Provide the applicant with a “written copy of the inquiry” which complies with the City’s Commission on Human Rights’s required (but not-yet-issued) format;

  2. 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”;

  3. 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

  4. Allow the applicant at least three business days to respond to the written analysis by holding the position open during this time. 

Of course, for employers who conduct background checks through consumer reporting agencies, if such information is obtained from a background check, the above process must be integrated with the Fair Credit Reporting Act (FCRA) pre-adverse action requirements.

Jackson Lewis P.C. © 2019

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Richard Greenberg, Jackson Lewis, workplace grievances lawyer, arbitrations litigation attorney
Principal

Richard Greenberg is a Principal in the New York City, New York, office of Jackson Lewis P.C. He advises both unionized and union-free clients on a full-range of labor and employee relations matters.

With respect to traditional labor matters, Mr. Greenberg represents clients in collective bargaining negotiations, labor disputes, grievances and arbitrations, proceedings before the National Labor Relations Board, and in state and federal court. Mr. Greenberg also advises clients on the legal aspects of remaining union-free....

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Daniel J. Jacobs, Jackson Lewis law firm, Labor Employment Attorney
Shareholder

Daniel J. Jacobs is a Shareholder in the New York City, New York, office of Jackson Lewis P.C. He assists both unionized and union-free clients with a full-range of labor and employee relations matters.
With respect to traditional labor matters, Mr. Jacobs represents clients in collective bargaining negotiations, contingency planning, labor disputes, grievances and arbitrations, proceedings before the National Labor Relations Board, and in state and federal court.
Mr. Jacobs also has experience assisting clients in numerous industries with the development and maintenance of personnel policies, reorganizations and reductions in force, purchase/sale transactions, sexual harassment and other workplace conduct rules, wrongful discharge and other workplace litigation.

212-545-4000
Susan M. Corcoran, Jackson Lewis, fair credit reporting lawyer, Labor Policy Attorney
Principal

Susan M. Corcoran is a Principal in the White Plains, New York, office of Jackson Lewis, P.C. Ms. Corcoran is a seasoned employment counselor and litigator and is often thought of as the “go to” person on national workplace law issues for her clients.

She is one of the leaders of the firm’s Background Check Resource Group, and serves as a resource on fair credit reporting act issues, as well as “ban the box” strategies. She taught a graduate employment law class for many years at Manhattanville College and frequently speaks...

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Christopher M. Valentino, EEOC litigation, labor attorney, Jackson Lewis Law firm, employment litigator
Office Managing Principal

Christopher M. Valentino is Office Managing Principal of the Long Island, New York, office of Jackson Lewis P.C. and is a member of the firm’s Board of Directors. Mr. Valentino represents companies in matters relating to traditional labor, equal employment opportunity, employment litigation and related matters.

Mr. Valentino has extensive experience in all matters relating to EEO compliance and workplace laws and a frequent speaker at management education programs. Since joining Jackson Lewis in September 2000, he has regularly counseled clients in the...

631-247-4653
Ellen Bandel, Jackson Lewis, personnel policies lawyer, corporate reorganizations attorney
Associate

Ellen M. Bandel is an Associate in the New York City, New York, office of Jackson Lewis P.C.

Ms. Bandel assists both unionized and union-free clients with a full-range of labor and employee relations matters, including assisting clients in numerous industries with the development and maintenance of personnel policies, reorganizations and reductions in force, sexual harassment and other workplace conduct rules, wrongful discharge, and other workplace litigation. Ms. Bandel also advises clients on compliance with the myriad...

(212) 545-4000