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Written By ESR News Blog Editor Thomas Ahearn

Effective October 27, 2015, the Fair Chance Act (FCA) amends the New York City Human Rights Law (NYCHRL) to prohibit most employers in the city from inquiring about criminal history of job applicants until after a conditional offer of employment is extended. To help city employers comply with the FCA, the NYC Commission on Human Rights (NYCCHR) published a “Fair Chance Act Notice” that employers can use to perform an analysis of applicants under Article 23-A of the New York Correction Law.

As reported earlier in the ESR News Blog “New York City Employers Must Ban the Box Starting October 27,” the FCA prohibits employers in the city from conducting criminal background checks or inquiring about arrest or conviction records, inquiring about the criminal history on employment applications or during interviews, or advertising or soliciting job offers with requirements regarding the arrest or conviction history of job applicants until a conditional offer of employment is extended to applicants.

After a conditional offer of employment is extended to an applicant, the FCA allows employers in New York City to conduct criminal background checks provided they comply with certain procedures before taking adverse action: 1) provide a copy of the report to the applicant, 2) perform an analysis of the applicant using the “Fair Chance Act Notice” and provide a written copy of the analysis to the applicant, and 3) hold the position open at least three (3) business days to allow the applicant time to respond.

The FCA does not apply to New York City employers following state, federal, or local laws that require criminal background checks for employment or bar employment based on criminal history. Individuals pursuing FCA claims may seek remedies available under the NYCHRL. More information about the FCA is available in a Fact Sheet, Free Training Sessions, and flyers in ENGLISH and ESPAÑOL. The NYCCHR will be issuing interpretative legal guidance on the FCA followed by a formal rulemaking process.


More Information for New York Employers

Employment Screening Resources® (ESR) – ‘The Background Check Authority®’ – is a nationwide background check firm accredited by the National Association of Professional Background Screeners (NAPBS®). ESR offers employers and Human Resources professionals in New York information regarding background check laws in New York City and New York State at For more information about ESR, call Toll Free 888.999.4474 or visit

© 2015 Employment Screening Resources® (ESR) – Making copies or using of any part of the ESR News Blog or ESR website for any purpose other than your own personal use is prohibited unless written authorization is first obtained from ESR.


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