It is well known that Article 23-A of New York’s Correction Law requires employers to consider several mitigating factors before taking adverse action against a job applicant based on a past conviction.  Recently, four of the nation’s largest consumer reporting agencies (CRAs), which regularly run criminal background checks on behalf of employers, came under fire from New York’s Attorney General (AG) for automatically disqualifying job applicants based on their conviction history before employers had the opportunity to make an individualized assessment under Article 23-A.

This past week, in response to mounting pressure from the AG, the four CRAs agreed to defer to employers on whether an applicant with a prior conviction is eligible for hire.  Although the AG’s efforts focused specifically on CRAs, employers should expect intensified scrutiny into whether their hiring practices comply with Article 23-A and other applicable laws.