N.Y.: Syracuse ‘Bans the Box’ for City Contractors

By Rosemarie Lally Jan 20, 2015
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The Syracuse Common Council voted 8–1 to “ban the box” inquiring about criminal convictions for anyone entering into a service contract or concession agreement with the city.

Effective March 22, 2015, Syracuse will require the city and all contractors doing business with the city to refrain from asking a job applicant about criminal convictions unless the applicant has received a tentative job offer.

The ordinance will prohibit contractors from making any criminal history inquiries during the “application process,” which begins when an applicant inquires about employment and ends when an employer extends a conditional offer to the applicant.

Further, before a contractor can rescind a conditional offer of employment based on an applicant’s criminal history, it will be required to provide the applicant with a copy of the criminal history report, notify the applicant of the intention to revoke, identify the convictions warranting the withdrawal of the offer, and review all documentation provided by the applicant.

Inquiries specifically authorized or imposed by applicable law will be exempted from the ordinance. In addition, intentional misrepresentations made by an applicant in connection with an employment application will be exempted.

The city will have the authority to suspend and terminate any contract or agreement in violation of the ordinance.

Rosemarie Lally, J.D., is a freelance legal writer and editor based in Washington, D.C.

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