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Fair Chance Act Takes Effect and “Bans the Box” in New York City

By October 27, 2015 December 8th, 2015 No Comments

In July of this year, we posted a blog about New York City jumping onto the “Ban-the-Box” bandwagon, as Mayor de Blasio signed the Fair Chance Act into law. Now, effective October 27, the Fair Chance Act makes it a violation of the city’s Human Rights Law for private employers to ask about a job applicant’s criminal background before giving the applicant a conditional offer of employment. Specifically, the Fair Chance Act makes it unlawful for employers to ask applicants about their criminal history as part of the job application process, including on the written application and during the interview.

The Act further prohibits employers from referencing a criminal background check requirement or expressing a preference for applicants without criminal records in advertisements for open positions. Private employers that hire employees in New York City should determine if they are covered by this law, and if so, review their job applications, offer letters, background check process, interview questions asked by hiring managers, and the guidelines and documentation used during the hiring process.