New York City Bans The Box
HandelontheLaw.com Staff Writer
In early June 2015, the New York City Council voted 45-5-1 to pass the “Fair Chance Act,” joining more than 100 other American cities in “banning the box.” The “box” is the job application check box requiring an applicant to indicate whether he/she was convicted of a crime. Mayor Bloomberg already signed a similar law in 2011 for NYC employees; however, this Act applies to all businesses with 4 or more employees.
Federal and State laws still allow a prospective employer to weigh a job applicant’s criminal record; however, the Fair Chance Act:
- Applies to businesses with 4 or more employees;
- delays consideration so a person’s criminal record does not automatically eliminate him/her at the outset;
- allows a prospective employer to rescind a job offer after checking the applicant’s criminal background; BUT
- requires the employer to:
o Explain the rescission;
o Engage in “an interactive discussion, considering the employer’s requirements and the applicant’s evidence of good conduct.”
The purpose of the Fair Chance Act is to allow otherwise qualified job applicants to move through the screening process despite their criminal records. As one advocate stated, the new Act removes the “never-ending punishment” of people who have paid their debt to society.
The text of the Fair Chance Act (Int. No. 318-A), can be accessed here: Fair Chance Act
By Kathy Catanzarite
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