Job applicants deserve to be judged first and foremost on their qualifications. The City Human Rights Law makes it illegal for most employers in New York City to ask about the criminal record of job applicants before making a job offer. This means job postings, applications, and interview questions cannot include inquiries into an applicant's criminal record.
Employers are also prohibited from rejecting job applicants, terminating or disciplining employees, or taking other adverse action based on the person's criminal history unless there is a direct relationship between the alleged or convicted crime and the job or employing the person poses an unreasonable risk to people or property. Employers are required to make that determination based on specific factors set forth in the law and must provide the applicant or employee with a copy of their written analysis, a copy of the criminal background check, and an opportunity to respond.
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Following the enactment of the Fair Chance Act in October 2015, the Commission launched subway and newspaper ads to educate New Yorkers of their protections from discrimination based on criminal history (click on image for full size).
In July 2021, amendments to the City Human Rights Law went into effect that protect even more New Yorkers with criminal records from job discrimination. In conjunction with these amendments, the Commission renewed its public education effort on the Fair Chance Act through the strategic use of paid social media advertising, Google search targeting, and Google display ads. The Commission also partnered with organizations like The Legal Aid Society, Neighborhood Defender Services of Harlem, the Bronx Defenders, and Legal Services NYC to distribute a new guide for workers on criminal history protections.