On June 29, 2015, New York City Mayor Bill DeBlasio signed into law a "ban the box" bill, which amends the New York City Human Rights Law.
Effective October 27, 2015, the ordinance will restrict a covered employer's ability to inquire into or otherwise consider an applicant's or employee's criminal history in employment decisions.
The ordinance generally prohibits employers with 4 or more employees from making any inquiry or statement about an applicant's criminal conviction record or pending arrest before extending a conditional offer of employment. Moreover, the legislation makes it unlawful for an employer or employment agency to issue any job advertisement, solicitation, or publication that directly or indirectly limits employment based on an individual's arrest or criminal conviction.
Additionally, if the employer decides to take adverse action based on criminal history, the law requires employers to take the following steps:
- Provide a written copy of the inquiry to the applicant in a manner to be determined by the New York City Commission on Human Rights (the "Commission");
- Perform a multi-factor analysis under Article 23-A of the New York State Corrections Law, and provide the analysis to the applicant in a manner to be determined by the Commission, "which shall include but not be limited to supporting documents that formed the basis for an adverse action based on such analysis and the employer's or employment agency's reasons for taking any adverse action against such applicant;" and
- After giving the applicant all of the required documentation, allow him or her at least 3 days to respond. During that time, the position must remain open for the applicant.
The law provides certain exceptions. For example, the law does not apply to any actions taken by an employer pursuant to federal, state or local law that requires criminal background checks for employment purposes or bars employment based on criminal history. It also does not apply to actions taken by an employer against applicants for employment as police officers, peace officers, and at law enforcement agencies.
Click Here to View the Legislation in its Entirety
What Should Employers Do?
New York City employers should review job advertisements, job applications and hiring processes to ensure compliance with the new law.
Questions regarding the new law? Please contact Katherin Nukk-Freeman or the Nukk-Freeman & Cerra, P.C. attorney with whom you normally work.