Philadelphia Amends Ban-the-Box Law
Philadelphia was one of the first cities to adopt the ban-the-box law back in 2012 (Fair Criminal Records Screening Standards), which affected employers with 10 or more employees. The law specifically stated that employers may conduct a criminal background check after the first initial interview, and any time before that would be in violation (this includes the employment application) of the new law. In 2015, amendments were made to the Fair Criminal Records Screening Standards, which changed the law significantly:
- There is no longer a requirement of employer size; therefore, if a company employs just one person in the city, they must adhere to the law.
- Reporting period is now only limited to the last seven years of convictions.
- The background check may only be conducted after a conditional job offer as been placed, and not after the first interview. An offer may be withdrawn if it is determined that the results of the background check pose an unacceptable risk in the position applied for.
In following the advice provided by the Equal Employment Opportunity Commission (EEOC) in their Consideration of Arrest and Criminal Conviction Enforcement Guidance (2012), this amendment also provides certain factors when determining suitability for employment:
- The nature of the offense
- The time that has passed since the offense
- The applicant’s employment history before and after the offense and any period of incarceration
- The particular duties of the job being sought
- Any character or employment references provided by the applicant
- Any evidence of the applicant’s rehabilitation since the conviction
Essentially, employers must conduct an individualized assessment with each subject that has reportable criminal activity to determine if the crime(s) have a “relationship to the employment sought”.
Lastly, the new amendment states that a “Rejection Letter” must be sent stating that the subject of the report has 10 business days (as opposed to the five business days rule set forth in the Fair Credit Reporting Act) to dispute any inaccurate information.
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