Rochester recently posted FAQs highlighting key provisions of the city’s “ban the box” ordinance, which takes effect today. The new law prohibits employers from inquiring into an applicant’s criminal conviction history until after an initial employment interview or following a conditional offer of employment. For more on the Rochester law, see our prior client alert.
The city-issued FAQs essentially summarize the Rochester law, offering little additional guidance to employers. To ensure compliance with the law, Rochester employers should remove any inquiries concerning an applicant’s criminal history from their initial job applications, and should wait to commence a criminal background check until a time permitted by law. When asking about or otherwise considering criminal history in hiring and personnel decisions, Rochester employers also should remember to:
- ensure that hiring guidelines regarding employment of individuals with criminal records are consistent with federal, state, and local law;
- conduct individualized assessments of candidates when possible;
- train managers on the appropriate use of criminal history in hiring, promotion, and separation; and
- adhere to the Fair Credit Reporting Act and other state and local requirements before conducting background checks and when considering or taking adverse actions against applicants or employees based on criminal history.