Philadelphia PA Amends Criminal Record Screening and Credit Ban Laws

Criminal Background Check

Written By ESR News Blog Editor Thomas Ahearn

On January 20, 2021, Philadelphia Mayor Jim Kenney signed three bills – Bill No. 200413, Bill No. 200479, and Bill No. 200614 – that amended Philadelphia’s Fair Criminal Record Screening Standards (FCRSS) and credit ban ordinances to expand coverage, eliminate exceptions, and change certain required procedures. Bill Nos. 200413 and 200614 will take effect on March 21, 2021, while Bill No. 200479 will take effect on April 1, 2021.

The new regulations taking effect are in addition to Pennsylvania’s state-wide Criminal History Record Information Act (CHRIA) that restricts the use of criminal records and the federal Fair Credit Reporting Act (FCRA) restrictions that apply nationwide to govern the process for ordering background check reports that include criminal records from background screening companies known as consumer reporting agencies (CRAs).

Bill No. 200413 removes previously exempted “any law enforcement agency or financial institution” from the prohibitions of Philadelphia’s credit ban law that prohibits employment credit screening for most employers and jobs. The bill allows law enforcement agencies or financial institutions to conduct credit screening only if credit information must be obtained under one of the other exemptions available under the credit screening ban law.

Bill No. 200479 expands the FCRSS definition of an employee to “any person employed or permitted to work at or for a Private Employer within the geographic boundaries of the City, including as an independent contractor, transportation network company driver, rideshare driver, or other gig economy worker.” The bill also expands the definition of employers, specifies the FCRASS applies to current employees, and changes FCRSS remedies.

Bill No. 200614 clarifies that an employer should simply follow the FCRA’s pre-adverse action and adverse action requirements for credit screening. Before the amendment, the credit ban required employers to disclose and identify to applicants or employees the credit information on which an adverse decision was based, and give the employee or applicant an opportunity to explain the circumstances before taking adverse action.

Employment Screening Resources® (ESR) – a leading global background check firm – offers the ESR Assured Compliance® Solution that uses fully automated technology to control applicant facing notices, disclosures, provision of rights, “Ban the Box” procedures, adverse action, limitations on use of credit reports, and prohibited salary inquiries. To learn more, visit www.esrcheck.com/Technology-Solutions/Assured-Compliance/.

Employment Screening Resources® (ESR) – which was named the number one background screening firm by HRO Today in 2020 – also offers a complimentary white paper on “21 Shortcuts & Traps that Can Lead to Inaccurate Criminal Records” that shows how some CRAs cut corners on reporting records and undermine the accuracy of the results which can lead to costly litigation. 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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