Philadelphia Strengthens its Ban the Box Law

December 16, 2015 | Bryan Barajas

bantheboxMayor Michael Nutter signed an amendment to Philadelphia’s 2012 Ban the Box law that limits employers – both public and private – from inquiring about job applicants’ criminal backgrounds. The original legislation specifies that job applicants do not have to disclose criminal history information until after the first interview. The legislation is now bolstered by additional provisions that permit prospective employers to conduct criminal background checks on applicants only after a job offer has been made

Here are several changes to the original law:

  • Employers can only conduct criminal background checks after conditional offers of employment, not after the first interview like in the original law.
  • It applies to all employers in the city — public and private — with one or more employees, as opposed to 10 workers in the original law
  • Employers can only look back on the last seven years of applicants’ records, excluding any periods of incarceration. Previously, employers could look back as far as they chose on a candidate’s criminal record.
  • Employers must consider guidelines when determining whether to disqualify an applicant on the basis of his or her criminal record.
  • Employers must notify the applicant in writing if they are rejected and provide the applicant with a copy of the criminal history report. Applicants have 10 business days following the rejection to provide evidence of an inaccuracy on the report or to provide an explanation.
  • Applicants have 300 calendar days to file a complaint with the Philadelphia Commission on Human Relations.

Mayor Nutter said in a statement that by making employers wait until a job offer has been extended before any criminal background check is done, returning citizens will have a better chance of securing employment. 

“I believe that the city should lead by example in our policy on hiring returning citizens. Government can’t ask businesses to do something that it isn’t willing to do,” Nutter said. “Hiring returning citizens is good for the economy and good for the people who gain jobs by government reducing barriers to employment. We can support returning citizens and add qualified workers to government positions.”  

Stay informed!  Click here to view CARCO’s Ban the Box chart.


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