Legislative Update: Philadelphia – “Ban the Box”

The Mayor of Philadelphia, Pennsylvania, recently approved and signed into law substantial amendments to alter the existing ban the box law. The Philadelphia Fair Criminal Records Screening Ordinance will be altered as follows, effective March 14, 2016:

1.) Impacts all employers in Philadelphia with 1 or more employees.
2.) Applies to all employers regardless of whether they conduct background searches independently or via a CRA.
3.) Criminal records inquiries may only be conducted post conditional employment offer.
4.) Employment application may not contain any questions regarding applicants criminal records.
5.) Removal of all questions in employment materials regarding applicants willingness to submit to background check before a conditional offer.
6.) Ignore all criminal records for employment decisions unless the conviction occurred within the previous 7-years. Additional time is extended to employers for applicants with actual incarceration.
7.) Removal of all automatic company based rules on excluding employment of candidates with a criminal records.
8.) Individual assessment processes must be established to include consideration of the following:

a.) Nature of the offense
b.) Length of time past since offense occurred
c.) Review of the applicant’s work history before and after the stated offense
d.) Duties of the job applied for
e.) Review and consideration of employment and character references related to the applicant
f.) Review and consideration of applicant’s rehabilitation since conviction

9.) Companies must review current policies and procedures regarding the rejection of employment candidates with criminal records. If an employer rejects a candidate for employment, the employer must:

a.) Employer must notify applicant in writing of its decision and the basis therein
b.) Employer must supply applicant with a copy of applicant’s criminal history report
c.) Employer must allow applicant 10 business days to provide evidence and explain their background report inaccuracies
10.) Workplace notices must be revised to include the details of the Philadelphia Fair Criminal Records Screening Ordinance.

Current updates from the City of Philadelphia on the Ban the Box ordinance may be found on the following web link:

Please seek legal counsel to assist in reviewing and/or amending your current policies and procedures.