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Philadelphia expands “ban the box” ordinance

On Dec. 15, 2015, Mayor Michael Nutter signed Bill No. 150815, thereby amending and expanding Philadelphia’s “ban the box” law. The amendments are set to become effective March 14, 2016.

The “ban the box” law—the Philadelphia Fair Criminal Records Screening Ordinance (“Ordinance”)—will now apply to all employers with at least one employee in Philadelphia. The law previously only applied to employers with 10 or more employees.

The Ordinance will now also require employers to delay any criminal record inquiry until after a conditional offer of employment has been made. This is a significant change from the previous restriction that allowed criminal record inquiries to be made after a “first interview.” This includes removing any criminal history questions from employment applications, and the Ordinance goes further by explicitly stating that multi-state applications may not include the question with an instruction for Philadelphia applicants not to answer.

Once it becomes lawful for employers to consider criminal history, they may only consider convictions that occurred less than seven years ago. The Ordinance requires employers to establish a process for an individualized assessment of each applicant and the termination of any practices that automatically exclude any candidates with certain criminal records.

For the full text of the Ordinance, click here

Source: City of Philadelphia

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