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State of New York Legal Update

Posted in News Articles on 12/04/2008

On August 5, 2008 New York State Governor David A. Paterson signed into law new legislation designed to give those with previous criminal convictions opportunities for employment.  Employer protection against claims of negligent hiring has also been enhanced.

Article 23-A was designed to encourage employers to hire ex-offenders by providing more protection to ex-offenders.  Article 23-A prohibits employers with 10 or more employees from denying employment based solely on a prior conviction.  Employers need to consider several factors before denying employment to ex-offenders, which include determining if a direct relationship between the crime and job exists, the length of time since the offense, the individual’s age at the time of the offense, the seriousness of the offense, any information attesting to the individual’s rehabilitation and determining if the ex-offender would pose an unreasonable risk to property, safety or welfare of individuals or the public at large.

The first two portions of the law takes effect on February 1, 2009 and require all employers in New York to post a copy of Article 23-A in a visually conspicuous manner in an accessible location in the workplace.  It also requires all employers, as part of their background check process, to provide a copy of Article 23-A to all individuals subject to a background check.

The third portion of the law amends the § 296 of the New York State Human Rights Law to protect New York employers from negligent hiring claims that allege an employee with a criminal conviction caused harm in the workplace, as long as the employer makes a good faith effort and reasonable determination that the factors outline in Article 23-A were followed.

Most of these provisions are currently similar to those already in place by the Fair Credit Reporting Act (FCRA).  For more information on this law,click here or contact BackTrack at 800-991-9694.