As we previously reported, the New York City Council recently passed the Fair Chance Act (Intro No. 318-A, 2014) that—among other requirements—prevents employers from inquiring about job applicants’ criminal arrests and convictions prior to hire. As expected, on June 29, 2015, New York City Mayor Bill de Blasio signed the legislation, meaning that the law will be effective as of October 27, 2015. At a signing ceremony, Mayor de Blasio stated that the new law “will open the door to jobs to New Yorkers who have paid their debt to society rather than condemning them to constant economic struggle.”
New York City employers are strongly encouraged to ensure compliance with the new criminal background check law prior to its effective date on October 27, 2015. Employers also are strongly encouraged to ensure compliance with New York City’s new law prohibiting the use of credit history checks, which will become effective on September 3, 2015. As we have noted, both of these background checks are incorporated under the New York City Human Rights Law, which means employers that violate these laws may be liable for compensatory damages (including back pay, front pay, and emotional distress), uncapped punitive damages, attorneys’ fees, and potential class litigation.
We will continue to monitor these laws regarding any guidance from the New York City Commission on Human Rights.
Aaron Warshaw is a founding attorney of Ogletree Deakins’ New York City office. Aaron’s first-chair experience includes representing companies ranging from Fortune 500 to small businesses in single-plaintiff and class-action employment cases. He has actively litigated and appeared in jurisdictions throughout New York State, including before federal courts, appellate courts, state courts, and administrative agencies. In addition, Aaron is a trusted advisor for management in...