New York Labor and Employment Law Report
Albany County Enacts Legislation Prohibiting Inquiries into Criminal Convictions for County Employment
February 24, 2017
By: Megan M. ColleloFollowing a national trend to "ban the box" on job applications, on February 13, 2017, the Albany County Legislature passed legislation prohibiting Albany County from inquiring about an applicant’s criminal conviction history until after the applicant receives a conditional offer of employment. The new law, entitled the "Albany County Fair Chance Act," also requires the County to post a disclaimer on job announcements and position descriptions for positions that necessitate an inquiry into the applicant’s criminal history or a background check. If the position for which an applicant is being considered requires inquiry into the applicant’s criminal history, and the result of this inquiry leads to a revocation of the conditional offer, the County must provide the individual with an adverse action notice containing the County’s basis for the decision, a copy of the conviction history report, a notation of the conviction(s) that form the basis of the action, and information on how to appeal the decision. The Act will be enforced by the Albany County Department of Human Resources, and will be effective immediately upon filing in the Office of the Secretary of State. The applicability of this legislation is extremely narrow: only Albany County itself is subject to its requirements and restrictions. Municipalities and private entities doing business in Albany County are not covered by the law. Other New York State municipalities have also passed "ban the box" legislation. For additional information regarding "ban the box" legislation applicable to New York City, Syracuse, Rochester, and Buffalo, please click on the link for each municipality.