Today (October 27, 2015), New York City’s Fair Chance Act (the “FCA”), or the “ban-the-box” law, went it to effect. The FCA bolsters the protections to job applicants who have a criminal record by allowing them a fair chance to compete for a job (some protections are already afforded under New York’s Correction Law Article 23-A).
The FCA amends New York City’s Human Rights Law by prohibiting employers from asking whether a job applicant has been convicted of a crime and from conducting a background check until after a conditional offer of employment has been made. With the applicant’s permission, the employer can then conduct a background check. If the results of the background check result in the employer denying employment to the applicant because the employer determines that the conviction history is directly related to the job or that hiring the applicant would pose a risk to persons or property, the employer must provide a copy of the record to the applicant and explain the basis for its decision by tracking language set by the law. From there, the position must be held open for three days to allow the applicant to respond so that an interactive discussion may be had to allow the applicant, among other things, to provide evidence of good conduct and contest any inaccuracies in the record.
What’s the fallout? Employers covered by New York City's Human Rights Law must carefully review their hiring forms, advertisements, handbooks and interview procedures with experienced counsel to confirm their compliance with the FCA.