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Important reminder regarding NYC’s Fair Chance Act

Private employers in New York City should note that the city’s Fair Chance Act will go into effect on Tuesday, Oct. 27.

The act, which is designed promote the hiring of individuals who have prior criminal convictions, will add increased restrictions to existing city laws that prohibit the practice of employers to inquire about or take an adverse action based upon an applicant or employee’s prior arrest records. Previously, employers were only permitted to inquire into pending arrests and convictions.

The Fair Chance Act will further restrict employers from making any otherwise lawful criminal history inquiries—about pending arrest records or convictions—until after a condition offer of employment is made.

Also included in the act are requirements for additional adverse action procedures requiring employers to undertake a multifactor, case-specific analysis to evaluate whether there is a direct relationship between applicants’ prior criminal history and the position sought. The NYC Commission on Human Rights has published a "Fair Chance Notice" that employers can use to help satisfy these particular requirements.

As a result, employers should ensure that their processes and forms for applicants and residents in New York City comply with the city’s Fair Chance Act prior to it taking effect on Oct. 27.

The full text of the Fair Chance Act can be found here.

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