New York City’s Fair Chance Act Effective Today


New York City’s Fair Chance Act (“FCA”) goes into effect today, October 27, 2015.  Under the FCA, most New York City employers with four or more employees are prohibited from inquiring about a job applicant’s criminal background during the employment application process.  This new standard requires employers to extend a conditional offer of employment before inquiring about an applicant’s criminal history – an even more onerous standard than New Jersey’s Opportunity to Compete Act, which prohibits such inquiry only until after an initial interview.

Should an employer decide to revoke a conditional job offer based on the applicant’s criminal history, the employer is first required to provide the applicant with a copy of his or her consumer report, provide the applicant with a completed Fair Chance Act Notice form, and allow the applicant to respond to the employer’s notice within three business days.

New York City employers are encouraged to review their job advertisements and applications to ensure they do not reference criminal history standards, require the applicant to authorize a background check to be conducted, or make any inquiry into the applicant’s criminal history.  Handbooks should also be revised to clarify any revisions made to the employer’s background check process in compliance with the FCA.  Managers and human resources professionals should be trained to not make inquiry into an applicant’s criminal background until a conditional job offer is extended and to comply with the adverse action mandates set forth above.

Please contact Connell Foley’s labor and employment law attorneys for assistance in reviewing the company’s pre-employment forms and to conduct on-site management training to ensure compliance with the FCA.