New York Employment Law Update – July 2015

Jul 22, 2015


NYC – Use of Criminal History Information

On June 29, 2015, New York City Mayor Bill DeBlasio signed a bill (Int. No. 318) that amends the New York City Human Rights Law to further restrict employers (with four or more employees) from inquiring into or otherwise considering an applicant’s or employee’s criminal history in employment decisions.

The bill prohibits employers from:

  • Asking about criminal history on an initial employment application and at any time prior to extending a conditional offer of employment.
  • Stating on any job advertisement or other solicitation or publication that employment is conditioned or limited based on an applicant’s arrest or conviction history.

In addition, prior to taking any adverse action against an applicant or employee on the basis of criminal history, the bill requires employers to:

  • Provide a written copy of the criminal history inquiry to the applicant in a manner determined by the New York City Commission on Human Rights (NYCCHR);
  • Provide an Article 23-A analysis in writing to the applicant in a manner determined by the NYCCHR, together with “supporting documents” setting forth the basis and reasons for the adverse action; and
  • After providing the applicant with all of the required documentation, allow him or her at least three business days to respond and, during that time, hold the position open for the applicant.

The bill does provide exceptions for actions taken by an employer pursuant to any federal, state, or local law requiring criminal background checks for employment purposes or barring employment based on criminal history.

The law goes into effect on October 27, 2015.