Important Changes to Philadelphia Ban the Box Ordinance

December 18th, 2015

Big news to Philadelphia employers, there have been some major changes to the “Ban the Box” law from 2011.  Here’s a quick rundown of what has changed due to the council passing and Mayor Nutter signing the amendments to the current law:

  • The Ordinance now applies to ALL employers with one or more employees, both public and private.  The original ordinance only appliedPhiladelphia_Employers_image to employers with 10 or more employees.
  • Philadelphia employers can only conduct a criminal background check after a conditional offer of employment has been made.  The original ordinance stated that a background check could be conducted once the first interview was completed.
  • All questions regarding an applicant’s arrest or conviction history must be completely removed from any applications.  Employers are also not allowed to ask if the applicant is willing to submit to a background check.
  • Philadelphia employers can only look at the past 7 years of criminal history, excluding periods of incarceration.
  • Employers must notify the applicant in writing if they are not going to be hired due to their background and include a copy of the criminal background check.  Note, this is already Federal Law.
  • According to the ordinance, applicants have 10 business days following the rejection letter to dispute the accuracy or provide an explanation of the criminal convictions.
  • If an applicant wants to file a complaint regarding the process, they have 300 calendar days to file with the Philadelphia Commission on Human Relations
  • Philadelphia employers must consider guidelines when looking at the criminal history of an applicant.  Factors such as time since last offense, type of crime, position they will be filling, etc. should be taken into consideration.

We have made a handy “cheat sheet” for employers regarding the changes, click here to download the infographic.  As always, employers should utilize a third party employment screening firm to ensure compliance with all regulations, whether they are federal, state or local.

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