Document with title, "Background Check" and three checkboxes.

Westchester County, New York, which is located on the outskirts of the New York City metropolitan area, has enacted a ban-the-box law that places limits on an employer’s ability to make preemployment inquiries into and statements about a job applicant’s criminal history. The law will take effect on March 4, 2019. Westchester joins New York City in enacting a ban-the-box law.

Westchester’s new ban-the-box law generally covers applicants seeking employment with companies that have at least four employees. It does not apply to independent contractors. Under the new law, employers cannot:

  • make oral or written inquiries or statements related to criminal convictions or arrest records in an employment application;
  • disqualify an applicant from employment for refusing to answer an unlawful inquiry or statement related to his or her criminal history; or
  • specify qualification criteria based on criminal history in a job advertisement.

Additionally, employers must conduct a job-relatedness analysis (as required by Article 23-A of the New York Correction Law) before they make hiring decision based on criminal history. If an employer makes an adverse employment decision based on criminal history, applicants can request a written statement about the reasons for the denial of employment (as required by Article 23-A).

The law provides an exception to the above prohibitions and requirements if:

  • the employer is subject to “any state, federal or County law that requires criminal background checks for employment purposes or bars employment based on criminal history”; or
  • the applicant is applying for a position at a law enforcement agency, or as a police officer or peace officer.

The Westchester County, New York law and ban-the-box laws in other jurisdictions, as well as compliant background check forms and letters, are provided in the OD Comply: Background Checks subscription materials, which are updated and provided to OD Comply subscribers as the law changes.


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Background Checks

Background checks are a trending topic for employers because of the tidal wave of class action lawsuits alleging technical violations of the federal Fair Credit Reporting Act as well as the proliferation of state and local background check laws (including those arising from the Ban the Box movement).

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