Effective March 3, 2019, private employers in Westchester County, New York with four or more employees will no longer be permitted to ask applicants for employment about past criminal convictions or arrest records on employment applications. Inquiries into an applicant’s criminal convictions or arrest record are permissible after submission of the employment application. In addition, as is already required by New York law, an employer must perform an analysis of the applicant’s criminal record in accordance with New York State Corrections Law Article 23-A (https://labor.ny.gov/formsdocs/wp/correction-law-article-23a.pdf) before taking any adverse employment action based on the applicant’s criminal history. Article 23-A requires, in part, that a private employer consider certain factors, including, but not limited to, the length of time that has elapsed since the conviction, the age of the person when the conviction occurred and the seriousness of the offense before making an employment determination.
This new Westchester County law does not apply to actions taken by an employer pursuant to any state, federal, or local law that requires criminal background checks for employment purposes or bars employment based on criminal history.
Before March 3, Westchester County employers should review their employment application and any similar documents to ensure that they do not include any questions about an applicant’s criminal history. In addition, employers should train any employees who interview job applicants and human resources staff about this new law. Finally, employers should ensure that they have a process in place to review any applicant background checks that disclose a criminal record for compliance with Article 23-A.
Please contact Pro Bono Partnership at 914-328-0674 if you have questions or need