Fair Chance Law Comes to NYC

Screen Shot 2015-10-28 at 1.17.14 PMOn October 27, New York City joined more than 100 other cities that have laws on the books prohibiting employers from basing their hiring decisions on whether or not a person has a criminal record.

Passed in June, the city’s Fair Chance law covers most private employers, requiring that they make a conditional job offer before they run a background check or ask about an applicant’s criminal history. It further requires that if they rescind their offer they keep the job open for 3 days and explain their reasons.  The applicant has the opportunity to challenge the decision and explain why the finding of a criminal record may not relevant to the job position.

The New York City Commission on Human Rights is holding trainings for both job seekers and employers on the new law, and is providing a downloadable “Fair Chance Act Notice” form to help employers comply with the law.

Kenrya Rankin Naaasel of Colorlines spoke with Nayantara Nehta, senior staff attorney for the National Employment Law Project (NELP), who praised the legislation.

“It’s one of the strongest laws in the country and it represents what we want to see other cities and states passing,” Nehta says. “We are really excited about it because it’s going to affect both a large population and a lot of employers. There are a lot of national employers here, so it won’t be a burden for them to apply these rules elsewhere in the country.”

Go to Colorlines to read about initiatives to introduce similar fair chance legislation at the federal level.

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