New York City to Limit Criminal Background Checks

Written by Stefanie Munsky

The New York City Council recently voted to approve legislation that makes it unlawful for a covered employer or its agent to make any inquiry or statement related to the pending arrest or criminal conviction record of an applicant for employment - or conduct a criminal background check - until after the employer has extended a conditional offer of employment to the applicant. The bill is expected to be signed by the Mayor and will become law 120 days after he signs the bill.

When the law goes into effect, a New York City employer must wait until after it has extended a conditional offer of employment to the applicant before inquiring about the applicant's arrest or conviction record.

Before an employer may take an adverse employment action based on an inquiry of the applicant's arrest or conviction record, the employer must provide the applicant with:

  • a written copy of the inquiry;
  • a written copy of the analysis, required by the law, of the applicant pursuant to Article 23-A of the New York Correction Law. The analysis will have to include the employer's reasons for taking an adverse employment action against the applicant and any supporting documentation; and
  • at least three business days to respond to the written analysis, holding the applicant's position open during that period.

The New York City Commission on Civil Rights will provide guidance on the form that the written inquiry and analysis must take.

The bill provides some exceptions. The exceptions include employers that are required to conduct criminal background checks by any federal, state, or local laws and employers that are barred from hiring applicants with a criminal history by federal, state, or local law.

The bill also prohibits employers from including in any job postings language that "expresses, directly or indirectly, any limitation, or specification in employment based on a person's arrest or criminal conviction."

As a result of these new restrictions, New York City employers should review their hiring practices to ensure compliance with the law and prepare to make any changes to their hiring practices that the new law will dictate.

If you have any questions about this update or how to integrate these anticipated changes into your employment practices, please contact the author of this article or your Clifton Budd & DeMaria attorney.

About the Author
Stefanie Munsky
Partner
Stefanie R. Munsky is a Partner at Clifton Budd & DeMaria, where she has worked since 2006. Ms. Munsky’s practice...
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