On March 13, 2014, the New York Attorney General announced that his office secured agreements with four of the nation’s largest background check agencies making it illegal to automatically disqualify job applicants based solely on criminal history. Specifically, the agencies agree not to issue automatic rejection letters triggered by a conviction on behalf of employers to ensure that employers conduct the required case-by-case, individualized assessments of job candidates in accordance with New York State law.
The agreements involve compliance with NY Article 23-A of the corrections law, which requires that employers consider a number of factors before disqualifying an applicant based upon a criminal conviction. In addition, the law also requires that employers refrain from considering non-pending arrests that were terminated in favor of the individual and/or resulted in a sealed conviction, youthful offender adjudication, or most violations and infractions, and require that applicants be notified about their rights to request a copy of the consumer report and contest any errors.
The NY AG’s office has been focused on adjudication or hiring criteria that had bright line “does not meet” or “fail” designations prior to an employer applying certain factors including the nature and gravity of the conviction and its bearing, if any, on specific responsibilities of the job sought, the time that elapsed since the conviction, the age of the applicant when the offense was committed, and any evidence of rehabilitation.
To read the NY AG press release on this matter, please see http://www.ag.ny.gov/press-release/ag-schneiderman-announces-agreements-background-check-agencies-end-illegal-hiring.