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NYC Amendments to “Ban the Box” Law Take Effect July 2021

July 9th, 2021 Christopher Davis

In January 2021, the New York City Council amended the Fair Chance Act, also known as the “Ban the Box” law. These amendments expanded protections designed to defend job applicants from discrimination based on criminal records and pending criminal convictions. 36 states and more than 150 cities and countries have “Ban the Box” laws that are continually evolving to help ex-offenders find work.  

What is the “Ban the Box” Law? 

The “Ban the Box” Law, or the Fair Chance Act, allows for job applicants to be judged on their qualifications rather than their criminal record. The law makes it illegal for the majority of New York City employers to ask about the criminal record of prospective employees before offering a job. This law also prohibits employers from rejecting job applicants and firing or disciplining current employees based on their criminal history. After giving an offer, employers can ask about an applicant’s criminal record and the applicant must disclose felony and misdemeanor convictions. Employers can also require a background check. If the applicant refuses to authorize a background check, an employer can revoke their job offer. 

What can and can’t employers ask after a job offer? 

There are three things that an employer cannot ask about: 1.) an arrest where the person was not convicted, 2.) any sealed convictions, and 3.) Most “ACD” cases, cases adjourned in contemplation of dismissal. If an employer decides not to hire a person after learning about their record, they must follow a specific process. They must give the applicant a copy of the background check performed on them, share their written evaluation with the applicant, and keep the job open for at least three business days after declining to hire so the applicant has time to respond to the decision. There are some employers who are exempt from the “Ban the Box” law. These employers, like law enforcement agencies, are required by law to check your criminal record and cannot hire applicants with specific serious convictions.  

How is NYC’s “Ban the Box” Law changing?  

The new amendments are expanding the protections of the “Ban the Box” law to cover employees with pending adjournments in contemplation of dismissal (ACD cases) and convictions for violations prior to sealing. “Ban the Box” also requires that employers who revoke a conditional job offer show that they would not have made the offer regardless of the applicant’s criminal history. The amended law also provides additional protections for ex-offenders, including factors of the New York Corrections Law, Article 23-A. The amendments to the “Ban the Box” law will take effect on July 29, 2021.  

Seek Legal Assistance Today 

If you have experienced discrimination in the workplace, seek legal assistance from the Working Solutions Law Firm, located in New York City and Livingston, NJ. Contact us today at (646) 430-7930 to schedule a free case evaluation and receive experienced legal counsel.