New York City's Fair Chance Act in Effect!

Employers be on notice: New York City’s Fair Chance Act (FCA), the 2015 law restricting the use of criminal history checks to screen or to reject job applicants, is now fully in force!

Employment background check

On August 5, 2017, FCA rules and regulations – including civil penalties of $500 to $10,000 for violators – went into effect for employers based in New York City and for those outside the five boroughs who conduct business in New York City.

By law, most employers must follow a detailed list of procedures if they want to know whether a potential new hire in New York City has a criminal past.

Job postings, job advertisements, job applications and job interviews are all affected by regulations issued by New York City’s Commission on Human Rights (NYCCHR), effective August 5, 2017.

These regulations enforce the Fair Chance Act, a law passed on October 27, 2015 that "requires most employers in New York City to wait until after a conditional offer of employment before asking about or considering a job candidate’s criminal record," according to the NYCCHR.

If an employer wants to revoke a job offer based on someone’s criminal history, the NYCCHR says that "the FCA requires that you notify the applicant and allow him/her at least three days to respond before you make a final decision on his/her application. This time period takes into account the fact that up to 50% of criminal background checks contain outdated or incorrect information, and gives applicants an opportunity to provide updated information."

Employers who fail to follow the FCA face fines ranging from $500 to $3,500 for first violations and from $1,000 to $10,000 for second violations, according to the penalty schedule released by the NYCCHR.

The NYCCHR has posted several documents meant to help employers navigate the FCA’s multiple requirements. Find them by clicking on the links below: