Fair Chance Act Impacts Co-op and Condo Hiring Practices

Posted on Tuesday November 10, 2015 |

A new law that impacts the hiring practices of building services employees in New York City co-ops and condos took effect October 27, 2015. Under the Fair Chance Act, employers with at least four employees cannot inquire about a job applicant's criminal history until after a conditional job offer has been made.
 
The Fair Chance Act aims to help ensure that employers are considering applicants based on their skills, experience, and qualifications before weighing whether their conviction history is relevant.
 
The law bans any questions about criminal history on job applications. To ensure our clients are in compliance, FirstService Residential property managers have removed any questions about an applicant's criminal history from the building’s job application.
 
“Boards are advised to avoid asking an applicant about their criminal history during an interview,” says Benjamin Kirschenbaum, VP and General Counsel, FirstService Residential. “Applicants who can prove that a board violated the Fair Chance Act can file a lawsuit seeking compensatory and punitive damages, as well as attorneys' fees. They can also seek an injunction that will force the board to hire them.”
 
The law also does not allow revoking the job offer merely because the applicant was convicted of a crime. Acceptable grounds for revoking a job offer are if there is a direct relationship between the criminal offense and the job's requirements, or if the hiring would create a reasonable risk to property or personal safety. Factors boards must consider before revoking an offer are the severity of the criminal offense, when it occurred, how old the applicant was at the time of the crime, and any evidence of rehabilitation and good conduct.
 
If, after examining the applicant's criminal history, the board decides to withdraw a conditional job offer it must:

  • Provide the applicant a written copy of the analysis of the criminal history;
  • Connect the candidate’s criminal record history to job duties or show it creates an unreasonable risk; and
  • Hold the job open for three days to allow the candidate time to discuss the issue or any wrong information.
For more information, contact FirstService Residential.
 

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