New Orleans restricts use of consumer credit checks

December 05, 2016 0 COMMENTS

by H. Mark Adams

A new ordinance in New Orleans will prohibit contractors doing business with the city from using consumer credit background checks and consumer credit history in making new-hire and other employment decisions. The ordinance will affect new city contracts entered into on or after December 23.

Employees who perform fewer than 40 hours of work in a calendar year in New Orleans under a city contract aren’t covered by the new ordinance, which includes exceptions for employees in sensitive positions such as: read more…

Broader ban-the-box law taking effect in Philly

March 01, 2016 0 COMMENTS

by Brittany E. McCabe

A more far-reaching version of Philadelphia’s ban-the-box law covering all employers in the city is set to take effect March 14.

On December 15, 2015, Mayor Michael Nutter signed an amended version of the city’s 2011 law that limits when employers can inquire about job applicants’ criminal background. Key changes include:

  • The new version applies to all public and private employers in the city with one or more employees. The old law covered only employers with at least 10 employees.
  • Employers must wait to make criminal record inquiries until after they extend a conditional offer of employment, not after a first interview as required by the original law.
  • Employers may consider only convictions that occurred in the last seven years, excluding any periods of incarceration. Previously, employers could look back as far as they chose.
  • Employers must consider specific factors when determining whether to reject an applicant based on his criminal record.
  • If an employer rejects an applicant based in whole or in part on a criminal record, it must notify the applicant of its decision and reason in writing and provide a copy of the criminal history report. Applicants will have 10 business days following the rejection to provide an explanation or evidence of inaccuracies in the report.
  • Applicants will have 300 calendar days after a rejection to file a complaint with the Philadelphia Commission on Human Relations.
  • Employers must post a summary of the law’s requirements in a conspicuous place on their websites and in their premises.

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New laws affecting Illinois employers take effect January 1

December 12, 2014 0 COMMENTS

by Steven L. Brenneman

Illinois employers need to be aware of a few new laws taking effect January 1.

Ban the box

One of the new laws, the Job Opportunities for Qualified Applicants Act, prohibits most private-sector employers and employment agencies with 15 or more employees from asking applicants about their criminal histories and conducting criminal background checks until after they are deemed qualified for a job.

Under the law, employers may not inquire about, consider, or require disclosure of an applicant’s criminal record or criminal history until he has been deemed qualified for a position and has been notified that he has been selected for an interview. If there is no interview, the employer may not inquire into the applicant’s criminal record or criminal history until after making a conditional offer of employment.

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Rochester ban-the-box law to take effect November 18

November 12, 2014 0 COMMENTS

by Edward O. Sweeney

Rochester, New York, will become the latest city to restrict employers’ ability to ask applicants about their criminal history when its ban-the-box ordinance takes effect November 18.

Since many employers are hesitant to hire applicants with criminal histories, states and cities have begun passing laws that restrict employers from including a check box on applications requiring applicants to disclose arrests and convictions.

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New Jersey joins states with ‘ban the box’ laws

August 13, 2014 0 COMMENTS

by Jeffrey A. Gruen

New Jersey Governor Chris Christie has signed the state’s “ban the box” legislation, meaning that most employers will be prohibited from asking applicants about their criminal histories until the conclusion of the first job interview.

The legislature passed the Opportunity to Compete Act in June, and Christie signed it on August 11. It will go into effect March 1, 2015. The law applies to New Jersey employers with 15 or more employees over 20 calendar weeks.

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San Francisco ‘ban the box’ ordinance starts August 13

August 11, 2014 0 COMMENTS

by Andrew J. Sommer and Alka Ramchandani

San Francisco’s new “ban the box” law, titled the Fair Chance Ordinance, will limit the timing and scope of inquiries into an applicant’s or employee’s criminal history when it takes effect August 13.

In addition to banning inquiries into criminal history on job applications, the ordinance also places significant restrictions on an employer’s ability to obtain and use that information in the hiring process.

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Illinois governor signs law prohibiting criminal history inquiries on job applications

July 22, 2014 1 COMMENTS

by Steven L. Brenneman

Fox, Swibel, Levin & Carroll, LLP

On July 21, Illinois Governor Pat Quinn signed into law the Job Opportunities for Qualified Applicants Act, which will prohibit most private-sector employers and employment agencies with 15 or more employees from asking applicants about their criminal histories and conducting criminal background checks until after applicants are deemed qualified for a job. The law will go into effect on January 1, 2015.

Under the law, employers may not inquire about, consider, or require disclosure of an applicant’s criminal record or criminal history until he has been deemed qualified for a position and has been notified that he has been selected for an interview. If there is no interview, the employer may not inquire into the applicant’s criminal record or criminal history until after making a conditional offer of employment.

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New Alabama law opens door to erase certain criminal convictions

June 19, 2014 0 COMMENTS

by Whitney Brown

A new Alabama law taking effect July 7 allows individuals to apply to have certain criminal proceedings expunged, meaning an applicant will be excused from disclosing the offense on employment applications.

Offenses must be misdemeanors or nonviolent felonies, and charges must have been dismissed, been “no-billed” by a grand jury, been dismissed following the offender’s completion of a deferred prosecution program, or yielded a “not guilty” verdict.

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Delaware governor signs ‘ban the box’ bill

May 09, 2014 0 COMMENTS

by Molly DiBianca

Delaware has joined the ranks of states adopting “ban the box” laws, measures that limit how employers can request criminal history information during the hiring process.

Delaware’s law, signed into law by Governor Jack Markell on May 8, makes criminal histories and credit scores off limits on applications for public-sector jobs. Here are key aspects of the law:

  • Public employers and state contractors are prohibited from inquiring into or considering the criminal record, criminal history, or credit history or score of an applicant before making a conditional offer of employment.
  • Employers may perform a background check once a conditional offer has been made, but they may consider felonies for only 10 years from the completion of the sentence and misdemeanors for five years from the completion of the sentence.
  • The law also requires employers to consider several factors when deciding whether to revoke a conditional offer of employment because of the results of a criminal background check. Those factors include the nature of the crime, rehabilitation, and the criminal activity’s relationship to the position.
  • Although the law applies to public employers, including state contractors, it provides for an exception for contractors that are subject to conflicting state or federal laws. For example, a child-care facility that contracts with the state isn’t subject to the law because it’s obligated by other state laws to comply with certain background-screening requirements.

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Baltimore council votes to ban the box

April 29, 2014 0 COMMENTS

by Kevin C. McCormick

Employers in Baltimore will face new restrictions in conducting criminal background checks now that the city council has passed a tough new “ban the box” law.

Bill 13-0301, titled “Ban the Box—Fair Criminal Records Screening Practices,” passed the Baltimore City Council on April 28 and was expected to gain Mayor Stephanie Rawlings-Blake’s signature. It is to go into effect 90 days after adoption.

Going far beyond the federal Equal Employment Opportunity Commission’s proposals on criminal background checks, Baltimore’s new law prohibits most employers from inquiring about applicants’ criminal background before making a conditional offer of employment. The bill’s sponsors claim the restrictions are needed to help Baltimore residents with criminal convictions obtain employment.

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