On March 13, 2014, New York State Attorney General Eric Schneiderman announced agreements with four of the nation’s largest background check agencies whereby they will not, on behalf of their clients, issue automatic rejection letters to job applicants with criminal convictions. Under the agreements, HireRight, Inc., First Advantage, General Information Services Inc., and Sterling Infosystems agreed to defer hiring decisions to New York State employers to individually consider candidates pursuant to New York law. The agreements were purported to address the practice of employers utilizing these background check agencies to issue automatic rejection letters for applicants with prior felony convictions; however, New York Correction Law sections 752 and 753 generally require that applicants with criminal convictions be considered on a case-by-case basis using a multiple-factor test. For New York State employers, these agreements serve as a timely reminder to ensure compliance with New York law whenever an employment decision is based upon a prior felony conviction.

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