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 disclosure requirement of the federal Fair Credit Reporting Act (FCRA) remains one of the most contentious and expensive litigation areas for employers. The case law from various federal district courts has been a mixed bag, leaving employers to question what it means to provide a “clear and conspicuous” disclosure in a writing that “consists solely” of the disclosure.
On October 13, 2018, the Massachusetts legislature amended the state’s Criminal Offender Record Information (CORI) law. Many other U.S. territories and localities have passed ban-the-box laws over the last decade that limit employer inquiries into an applicant’s criminal history.
On November 10, 2018, the U.S. Virgin Islands joined the “ban-the-box” movement by enacting legislation regulating employers’ use of the criminal records of applicants and employees.
On October 1, 2018, San Francisco’s amendments to its Fair Chance Ordinance (FCO) took effect. The FCO is San Francisco’s “ban the box” equivalent that regulates employers’ use of applicants’ and employees’ arrest and conviction information.
On September 24, 2018, the U.S. Equal Employment Opportunity Commission (EEOC) reaffirmed the importance of following its 2012 enforcement guidance on employer use of criminal history information—specifically the EEOC’s targeted screening process and individualized assessment process–when it announced a voluntary agreement with large furniture retailer Rooms To Go.
On September 12, 2018, the Consumer Financial Protection Bureau (CFPB) issued an interim final rule updating its A Summary of Your Rights Under the Fair Credit Reporting Act form, (“Summary of Rights”) which is required to be given by employers to applicants and employees at various points in the background check process.
Twenty years ago, on a warm summer day, Hawaii enacted a restriction on employer inquiries into an applicant’s work history until after a conditional offer of employment. Intended to give applicants with criminal histories a fair shot at employment, the law—the first state “ban the box” law—crystalized a movement that, in time, would yield similar restrictions in 12 states and 17 localities (for private employers). The result is a crisscrossing jumble of requirements with little uniformity, putting employers in a difficult position when dealing with applicants (and sometimes even existing employees) in different jurisdictions.
Courts have ruled that sweeping and overbroad employer-initiated disqualification policies must be struck absent business justification. But where is the line on what constitutes an overbroad and impermissible policy when applicant and employee disqualification is mandated by federal law?
On July 5, 2018, Hawaii Governor David Ige signed Senate Bill 2351, thereby enacting a state law prohibiting employers from inquiring into an applicant’s salary history.
On January 16, 2018, Democratic candidate Phil Murphy was sworn in as the 56th governor of the State of New Jersey, replacing Republican former governor Chris Christie. As reflected in the Report of the Labor and Workforce Development Transition Advisory Committee, Governor Murphy’s administration is poised to advance legislation that will have a significant impact on employers doing business in New Jersey.
North Carolina Governor Roy Cooper recently signed House Bill (HB) 774, which will broaden the situations in which individuals convicted of certain crimes may petition for a “certificate of relief.”
Vermont and likely Connecticut will soon join California, Delaware, Massachusetts, Oregon, and Puerto Rico (along with various cities and counties) in prohibiting salary history inquiries.
Arizona’s fifty-third legislature ended in early May of 2018 while over 50,000 demonstrators protested for increased education funding at the state capitol. While the #RedForEd movement essentially ground all remaining legislative action for the 2018 session to a halt, the legislature did manage to pass 369 bills this session before its attention turned entirely to education funding. However, only four bills that substantively impact employers made it to the governor’s desk and either received his signature or were allowed to become effective after the veto deadline passed.
On April 3, 2018, San Francisco amended its Fair Chance Ordinance. The amended ordinance, which will take effect on October 1, 2018, will significantly impact employers that employ, or seek to employ, individuals to work eight hours or more per week in San Francisco.
On April 10, 2018, Westchester Country Executive George Latimer signed into law the Wage History Anti-Discrimination Law, which was adopted by a unanimous vote of the Westchester County Board of Legislators a day earlier. The new law will take effect 90 days following its adoption.
Pay equity legislation is burgeoning: in 2017, several jurisdictions—including Albany, New York City, California, San Francisco, Massachusetts, Delaware, Philadelphia and Oregon —approved bans on salary history inquiries. The ostensible purpose of these laws is to prevent the continuation of pay disparities that may have affected female applicants in their work experiences prior to seeking employment with a new company.
On March 26, 2018, Governor Rick Snyder signed an amendment to Michigan’s Local Government Labor Regulatory Limitation Act into law. Public Act 84 (2018) prohibits local government bodies from adopting or enforcing any local policy, resolution, or ordinance that regulates what a prospective employer must request, require, or exclude during the interview process or on an application for employment.
On February 1, 2018, the City Council of Kansas City, Missouri, enacted a ban-the-box ordinance that limits an employer’s use of an individual’s criminal history in making hiring or promotional decisions. The ordinance will go into effect on June 9, 2018.
The Wisconsin Fair Employment Act prohibits employers from taking adverse employment action against an applicant or employee because of the individual’s conviction record, unless the conviction is “substantially related” to the position sought or held. Wisconsin law permits certain offenders who commit crimes before they reach the age of 25 to have their convictions expunged.
As discussed in our previous article, “California Governor Signs Law Banning Salary History Inquiries,” as of January 1, 2018, California employers are required to comply with California Labor Code Section 432.3, which prohibits employers from asking job applicants about their salary histories.
The City of Spokane, Washington, recently enacted Ordinance No. C-35564, making Spokane the second municipality (joining Seattle) in Washington state to “ban the box.”
On December 20, 2017, New Jersey Governor Chris Christie signed into law Senate Bill 3306, which expands the state’s ban-the-box law by explicitly prohibiting employers from inquiring into an applicant’s expunged criminal history.
The Albany County Legislature recently amended the Human Rights Law for Albany County to join New York City, Philadelphia, Massachusetts, Delaware, Oregon, Puerto Rico, California, and San Francisco in banning inquiries into salary histories.
In the days leading up the October 15 deadline, Governor Brown signed and vetoed a number of California labor and employment law bills that had recently passed by the September legislative deadline. Here is an overview on the newest laws and the bills that are gone for now.
On October 14, 2017, the governor of California signed a statewide ban-the-box law that goes into effect on January 1, 2018.
As we previously reported in April of 2017 and May of 2017, New York City employers may want to prepare for the New York City salary history law, which will go into effect on October 31, 2017. With limited exceptions, the law prohibits employers from asking applicants about their current or prior compensation, or relying upon salary history to determine an applicant’s compensation. In advance of the law’s effective date, the New York City Commission on Human Rights published fact sheets and answers to frequently asked questions (FAQs) to clarify the scope of the new law. The law itself will be codified under the New York City Human Rights Law (NYCHRL) at New York City Administrative Code Section 8-107(25).
On October 12, 2017, Governor Jerry Brown signed AB 168, prohibiting California employers from asking job applicants about their salary histories.
As of September 18, 2017, all employers must now use the revised Form I-9 released by U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services (USCIS) to verify the identity and employment authorization of all new hires, whether citizens or noncitizens.
Several California labor and employment law bills passed in both the state assembly and senate on or before the September 15, 2017, legislative deadline. Governor Brown will have until October 15, 2017, to sign or veto these bills.