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.