Background Checks

Although New York City’s Fair Chance Act took effect in late October, 2015, affected employers are still working to meet best practices for this complicated law—if they are even addressing it, yet. The Fair Chance Act amends the New York City Human Rights Law to prohibit most employers from inquiring about criminal history until after a conditional offer of employment. The law also requires employers to provide applicants with a copy of any relevant inquiry (e.g. a consumer report) and a designated form with the company’s analysis under Article 23-A of the New York Corrections Law.

Law firms around the country are recommending an extensive list of best practices that include employee training and the revision of hiring protocols. Laws of this type are becoming increasingly common. In 2016 Barada advises employers to implement best practices for all hires—or work with a reputable screening firm that confirms it follows similar best practices. Recommended best practices relating to Fair Chance-type laws follow. We will share additional best practices in a later article. For more assistance, visit the Barada Associates Resources page.)

  • Update pre-employment forms. Fair Chance stipulates that employers must ensure job advertisements, applications for employment, interview questionnaires, and all other pre-conditional offer documents make no reference to the fact that a background check will be conducted or a criminal history will be considered. This is an advisable best practice for all hiring situations.
  • Stay abreast of the timing when state and local law allows criminal history inquiries. Legislatures usually take months (if not years) to discuss, finalize and vote on laws like the Fair Chance Act.