Philadelphia strengthens its “ban the box” protections for job applicants


The City of Philadelphia announced today that Mayor Nutter has signed an Executive Order to implement this amendment to the Fair Criminal Screening Standards Ordinance, known as Ban the Box.

Under the Executive Order, no City agencies or private employers, with at least one employee, may ask job applicants early on about criminal background and arrests. (Previously, private employers with fewer than 10 employees were exempt).

According to the City’s press release, other key provisions of the Executive Order include the following:

  • Employers may conduct a criminal background check only after a conditional offer of employment has been made.
  • Employers must consider guidelines when determining whether to disqualify an applicant on the basis of his or her criminal record.
  • An employer can only examine a criminal record going back seven years, excluding periods of incarceration.
  • Employers must notify the applicant in writing if they are rejected and provide the applicant with a copy of the criminal history report.  Applicants have 10 business days following the rejection to provide evidence of an inaccuracy on the report or to provide an explanation.
  • Applicants have 300 calendar days to file a complaint with the Philadelphia Commission on Human Relations.

If you operate a business in Philadelphia, get out that hiring policy manual and make sure that it comports with these changes to the law. Otherwise, start updating right away. The amendments will take effect in 90 days.

(h/t Jeff Blumenthal)