The “Fair Chance Act,” a bill providing protection to prospective employees with criminal histories during the interview process, was recently passed by a 45-5 vote by the New York City Council. Under the bill, private employers are barred from asking about arrest and conviction records, but only until a conditional job offer is made. Similarly, the bill also states that background inquiries must be deferred until after a job offer is made. After an employer learns of an applicant’s criminal history and decides to rescind a job offer, the employer is required to state in writing why they are withdrawing the offer, and the applicant has three days to respond. If the employer still decides not to hire the applicant after an objection is made, the applicant can file a lawsuit in court or file a complaint with the city Commission on Human Rights.
There are, however, exemptions in which an employer may lawfully consider an applicant’s criminal history when hiring certain individuals, such as, bank tellers, safety officers, home health care aides and those who work with children.