Philadelphia “Bans the Box,” Precluding Inquiries Regarding Criminal History in Employment Applications


Philadelphia employers may no longer include check boxes in their employment applications asking prospective employees to indicate whether they have ever been convicted of a felony. Joining the national trend of restricting employer inquiries into job applicants’ criminal histories, on April 18, 2011, Philadelphia Mayor Michael Nutter signed into law the Philadelphia Fair Criminal Record Screening Standards Ordinance (the “Ordinance”). The Ordinance, which will take effect on July 17, 2011, regulates when city agencies and private employers with ten or more employees in Philadelphia may inquire into an applicant’s prior criminal history.

- make any inquiry about or take adverse action against any employee or applicant on the basis of any arrest or criminal ac-cusation, which is not then pending against the person and did not result in a conviction; or

- make any inquiry regarding or require any applicant to disclose or reveal any criminal convictions during the applica-tion process until after the employer has conducted a first interview.

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