Blog

 
     

Rochester, New York Bans the Box

By Michael Klazema on 6/4/2014

Ordinance Number 2014-155 applies to the City of Rochester, its vendors, or any entity that employs four or more persons in any position for which the primary place of work is located within the City of Rochester. It includes not-for-profit corporations, associations, and employment agencies or other placement or referral agencies.

The ordinance makes it unlawful discriminatory practice for an employer to make any inquiry regarding, or to require any person to disclose or reveal, any criminal conviction during the application process. The application process is deemed to begin when the applicant inquires about the employment sought and ends when an employer has conducted an initial employment interview or has made a conditional offer of employment. If an employer does not conduct an interview, it must inform the applicant whether a criminal background check will be conducted before employment begins. The ordinance also specifically prohibits employers from asking at any time for applicants to disclose information about any arrest that resulted in a Youthful Offender Adjudication, any arrest that was processed as a Juvenile Delinquency proceeding in Family Court, or any arrest or conviction that was sealed.

Exceptions to the ordinance include inquiries that are specifically authorized by any other applicable law, and positions where certain convictions are a bar to employment. The City Police and Fire departments are also exempt from the new ordinance.

The City’s Corporation Counsel may bring an action to restrain or prevent a violation, or continued violation, of the Fair Employment Screening Article. The Counsel may assess a penalty of $500 for the first violation and $1,000 for each subsequent violation. Additionally, a civil action or proceeding may be brought against an employer for an alleged violation. In these cases, the court may grant costs and reasonable attorney fees, as well as damages, and other relief it deems appropriate.

The City of Rochester joins New York City and the City of Buffalo in passing ban-the-box ordinances. We will continue to monitor this topic, and report any new ban-the-box city ordinances or state laws as they are passed.

City Ordinance 2014-155 (May 20th Council Legislation Passed, pgs. 125-129): http://www.cityofrochester.gov/councilproceedings/



Tag Cloud
Categories
Recent Posts

Latest News

  • June 20 Repeat background checks are becoming more common, with companies in India leading the charge. What does this trend look like, and how can employers embrace it now to stay ahead of the curve?
  • June 19

    Every federal job involves a background check of some kind. These background checks and how they are evaluated vary based on job, department, and security clearance level.


  • June 18

  • June 14 Ban the box laws aim to improve opportunities for employment. Could they have the opposite effect instead?
  • June 13 Jacobs Petroleum Products is a regional petroleum company that operates throughout Pennsylvania, West Virginia, Ohio, and Maryland. Apart from their employees carrying much responsibility and have frequent contact with customers, the company’s hiring also tends to be segmented since individual store managers are responsible for hiring talent for their own stores. In this employment landscape, Jacobs Petroleum Products needed a reliable and effective way to screen its new hires for criminal infractions and other red flags.
  • June 12

    The University of Wisconsin System may tweak its hiring and reference check processes. The potential changes come after one of UW’s assistant deans was accused of sexual harassment.


  • June 07 Stories of abuse by coaches in youth sports leagues continue to crop up around the country, but rules and guidelines remain patchy and enforcement is often lacking. The struggle to implement an effective system continues nationwide.
  • June 07 Financial background checks, usually referred to as credit history checks, can be an effective way to find out if a candidate is fit to handle accounts, financial data, and other assets at your business.
  • June 06 The Society for Human Resource Management and the Charles Koch Institute recently commissioned a survey to find out how willing employers were to hire people with criminal records. The study indicates that managers, HR professionals, and employees themselves are becoming more comfortable with the idea of hiring and working with ex-offenders.
  • June 04 Are fingerprint background checks the gold standard for employee screening, or are they overhyped? We look at some of the myths and misconceptions surrounding these checks.