Monday, May 18, 2020

Suffolk County Enacts "Ban the Box" Law Prohibiting Employers from Inquiring into an Applicant's Criminal Conviction History

The Suffolk County Legislature recently passed a "Ban the Box" law which will prohibit all employers in Suffolk County with 15 or more employees from inquiring as to a candidate's criminal conviction history during the application process. 

An employer cannot consider an applicant's criminal conviction history until after an application has been submitted and the initial interview has been conducted. An employer may only deny employment based on an applicant's criminal conviction history after conducting an individualized inquiry and concluding that the criminal conviction "bears a direct relationship to the duties and responsibilities of the position sought, or that hiring would pose an unreasonable risk to the property or to the safety of individuals or the general public."

The law specifically exempts the Suffolk County Police Department, the Suffolk County Department of Fire, Rescue and Emergency Services, public or private schools and any public or private provider of care or supervision for children, young adults, or physically or mentally disabled individuals. 

An aggrieved individual may file a claim with the Suffolk County Human Rights Commission or file a civil lawsuit. Employers in Suffolk County should immediately adjust their hiring practices and policies to avoid substantial liability.

The law is effective as of August 25, 2020.


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