Also known as Manhattan, New York County is the center of the entire New York metropolitan area, with a population of about 1.7 million. Nearby counties include Bronx, Kings, Queens, and Richmond in New York, and Bergen and Hudson counties in New Jersey. Major employers include the NYPD, the New York Department of Education, and Citigroup.

America's first true metropolis, New York County (or Manhattan), is one of the most densely populated regions in the United States and an area of opportunity. People come here from across the country and around the work to seek work—not just from other boroughs in New York. Because of these conditions, employers must exercise caution and discretion in their choice of whom to hire.

To call the labor market of New York County diverse, vibrant, and chaotic would be an understatement. As one of the densest population zones in the country, there is a greater chance of encountering someone with a criminal record than almost anywhere else. More importantly, those records could be anywhere—not just within New York County. To acquire and evaluate all these records demands a thorough background check process.

New York City, which includes this county, has an extensive Fair Chance ("ban the box") law on its books. All private employers within the city and its boroughs must abide by these rules. There are no additional state-level restrictions to know, but employers should closely study the requirements they face. Otherwise, there could be consequences for violating these laws, including fines and lawsuits. Provisions include the following:

  • A conditional offer of employment is required before you may make any criminal history inquiries.
  • Conditional offers cannot be withdrawn arbitrarily. You must review the candidate's background individually and in detail while also supplying the candidate with a copy of their report. If you wish to withdraw an offer, you must disclose your analysis to the candidate, wait five business days, and evaluate any supplementary information provided.
  • Adjournments in contemplation of dismissal and unsealed violations cannot be a part of your considerations.
  • You can only disqualify a candidate for past convictions if those crimes relate directly to the job's duties or if the individual poses a serious safety risk.
  • You cannot deny applicants because they test positive for marijuana on a drug test.
  • You may not drug test for marijuana.

There are many layers of regulatory complexity to navigate in New York, but navigating them still opens the door to effectively using background checks. When you've satisfied the requirements to start vetting a candidate, you should start by attempting to gather the broadest view possible. For that, our US OneSEARCH is ideal: it searches millions of records compiled from nationwide criminal data sources and provides results on your candidate within minutes. View our coverage map for full details on what this search includes.

Unfortunately, not all counties make their information as easy to acquire or search through services such as ours. Some, such as New York County records, are only available through official channels. To conduct a background check within the core of the New York metropolitan area, you must use a service provided by the New York State Office of Court Administration. This multi-county background report includes the 14 major counties of the metro area, including New York. There is a fee of $95. To request an OCA background check, use the official website or submit your request by mail.

Background reports sourced from county court records may include the subject's:

  • Name
  • Offense/Charge
  • Sentence
  • Disposition

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