New York State AG Secures Agreements with Background Check Firms

Written By Thomas Ahearn

ESR News BlogNew York State Attorney General Eric T. Schneiderman has announced his office has secured agreements with four large background check firms that will prohibit them “from automatically disqualifying applicants with criminal convictions and require the agencies to defer hiring decisions to employers who must conduct an individualized consideration of candidates in accordance with New York State law.” A press release about the agreements is available at http://www.ag.ny.gov/press-release/ag-schneiderman-announces-agreements-background-check-agencies-end-illegal-hiring. (Español)

“New Yorkers who have paid their debt to society deserve a fair shot at employment opportunities,” Attorney General Schneiderman stated in the press release. “Background check agencies that implement blanket bans on hiring ex-offenders are violating New York State law. My office is committed to reforming practices in this industry that frustrate efforts at rehabilitation.”

According to the press release, the background check agencies “agree to follow New York laws that make it illegal to automatically disqualify job applicants based solely on criminal history” and “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.”

New York State law requires employers consider mitigating factors in making hiring decisions based on criminal history including: the nature and gravity of an applicant’s criminal conviction; its bearing, if any, on the specific responsibilities of the job sought; the time that has elapsed since the conviction; the age of the applicant at the time when the offense was committed, and evidence of rehabilitation. The law also further prohibits third parties from aiding and abetting employers in violating the statute.

These New York State agreements serve as a reminder for employers in all states to ensure compliance with their state screening laws whenever an employment decision is based upon a prior felony conviction. Employers should also be aware of updated U.S. Equal Employment Opportunity Commission Enforcement Guidance on the use of criminal records available at http://www.eeoc.gov/laws/guidance/arrest_conviction.cfm.

To help employers better understand how to properly use criminal records of job applicants during the hiring process, Employment Screening Resources® (ESR) founder and CEO Attorney Lester Rosen has written a whitepaper titled ‘Practical Steps Employers Can Take to Comply with New EEOC Criminal Record Guidance.’ The complimentary whitepaper about the EEOC Guidance is available on the ESR website at http://www.esrcheck.com/Stay-Updated/Download/.

About Employment Screening Resources® (ESR):

Employment Screening Resources® (ESR) – ‘The Background Check Authority®’– is a nationwide provider of background checks accredited by The National Association of Professional Background Screeners (NAPBS®). ESR Founder and CEO Attorney Lester Rosen wrote the book on background checks with “The Safe Hiring Manual” and is a frequent speaker for “ESR Speaks.” To learn more about ESR, visit http://www.esrcheck.com, call Toll Free 888.999.4474, or email sales@esrcheck.com.

About ESR News: 

The ESR News Blog provides employment screening background check information for employers, recruiters, and jobseekers. For more information about ESR News, please email ESR News Editor Thomas Ahearn at tahearn@esrcheck.com.