2021Criminal Records
Second Chance

Written By ESR News Blog Editor Thomas Ahearn

Effective July 29, 2021, the New York City Fair Chance Act (FCA) will add new protections for ex-offenders with criminal histories that include unsealed violations and unsealed non-criminal offenses while also expanding the protections already included in the FCA to cover current employees and to reach pending cases.

The FCA was added to the New York City Human Rights Law (NYCHRL) on October 27, 2015, because even though the City required that employers must fairly assess job candidates under Article 23-A of the Correction Law, many employers were disregarding candidates who disclosed criminal histories early in the hiring process.

In January 2021, the New York City Council amended the FCA to extend employment protections for individuals with pending adjournments in contemplation of dismissal (ACDs) and convictions for violations prior to sealing by adding both to the category of dispositions that may not be considered for employment-related decisions.

The law also prohibits discrimination in licensing against applicants with convictions for violations, even prior to sealing, and would clarify protections for applicants and employees with pending criminal cases by requiring an employer to make an individualized assessment of the relationship between the charged conduct and the job.

The amended FCA requires that employers who revoke a conditional job offer demonstrate that they would not have made the offer regardless of the applicant’s criminal history, and provides numerous additional protections for ex-offenders. The New York City Commission on Human Rights has issued compliance guidance on the FCA.

“Ban the Box” laws and Second Chance Programs that help ex-offenders in the United States – an estimated 70 million people – find work will continue to evolve, according to leading global background check firm Employment Screening Resources® (ESR), which compiled the “ESR Top Ten Background Check Trends” for 2021.

Employment Screening Resources® (ESR) – which was named the #1 screening firm by HRO Today in 2020 – offers a white paper on “Ten Critical Steps for Ex-Offenders to Get Back into the Workforce,” an “ESR Ban the Box Resource Guide,” and a Ban the Box Resource Page. To learn more about ESR, visit www.esrcheck.com.

NOTE: Employment Screening Resources® (ESR) does not provide or offer legal services or legal advice of any kind or nature. Any information on this website is for educational purposes only.

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