What is the Fair Chance Act in NYC?

Fair Chance Act was introduced in New York City. With the goal of providing a level playing field for all New York job seekers, this law states that an employer cannot ask about an applicant’s criminal record until a conditional job offer is made. [caption id="attachment_4944" align="alignleft" width="300"]Attribution: Gale A Brewer Attribution: Gale A Brewer[/caption]


The purpose of the Fair Chance Act is to give all job seekers an opportunity to get hired, regardless of their past criminal record. To this end, the Fair Chance Act, one of the strictest ban-the-box legislation in the US, bans employers from inquiring about an applicant’s criminal record in advertisements, applications and interview questions.


Once the job offer is made, the employer may ask orally or in writing, whether the applicant has a criminal conviction or a pending criminal case, or request permission to do a background criminal check. Under the Fair Chance Act, employers can deny a job only if the past criminal record of the potential employee can be linked to present job duties. Also, the employer cannot take into account cases that were sealed, expunged or reversed on an appeal. Additionally, it is the responsibility of the employer to prove that hiring this candidate poses a certain risk to the job. If a candidate is denied the job, then the same has to be communicated to the candidate in writing. Further, the employer should keep the same job open for another three days to give the potential employee a chance to explain the cause of conviction.


As with any legislation, there are certain exceptions to the Fair Chance Act too. There are existing laws that prevent anyone with a serious criminal conviction working in certain locations like day care centers, senior homes, and in jobs where an employee has to work directly with kids or the elderly. The Fair Chance Act does not affect these jobs, and the existing background check requirements stay.


The Fair Chance Act is beneficial for both employers and employees, as it gives employers access to a larger pool of qualified candidates, while applicants have a better chance of reintegration. Furthermore, it helps employers to strengthen their business, formulate hiring practices that comply with NYC laws, and become a more inclusive employer. If you would like to know more about the Fair Chance Act, and how it can impact your business, get in touch with us today.]]>

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