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New York State Employment Laws

The state of New York has restrictions on what can be reported in a background screening report beyond what the Fair Credit Reporting Act (FCRA) dictates.

Ban the Box: Certain Major MunicipalitiesThis restriction affects employers in three major cities in NY - Buffalo, Rochester, and New York City. However, the New York City Ban-the-Box Restriction on private employers (with 4 or more employees) does not go into effect until October 27, 2015. Since January 1, 2014, the City of Buffalo has had a Ban-the-Box ordinance for employers within the city. An employer cannot ask an applicant for employment questions regarding their criminal history prior to a first interview. Covered employers include any employer located within the Buffalo city limits and having 15 or more employees. In May 2014, the Rochester City Council enacted a similar law, modeled to the Buffalo law. See the Resource Tab on Municipalities for details on New York City

Note: New York City also has restrictions in place on the use of credit information by employers.
Credit History: Key Municipal Employment Restriction on Private EmployersOn May 6, 2015, the Mayor of New York City, Bill de Blasio, signed Bill Int-216-2014 (Enactment 2015/037) banning the use of consumer credit history by employers of four or more employees. This ordinance went into effect September 2015 (120 days after the bill was signed). Employers can still run credit checks for positions where it's required by federal or state laws.

See the statute here for more information.

Notable Exceptions: Employers, or agents thereof, that are required by state or federal law or regulation to obtain a credit report...Self-regulatory organizations under §3(a)(26) of the Security Exchange Act of 1934....Peace officers: A) as defined in subdivisions 33 & 35 of section 1.20 of criminal procedure law; B) position with law enforcement; C) position with investigative function at the city Department of Investigation...Those governmental appointed positions in New York City that have a high degree of public trust as defined by commission....Positions required to be bonded under local, state or federal law...Positions requiring a security clearance under any state or federal law....Non-clerical, position having access to: trade secrets, intelligence information or national security information. These terms are defined: trade secrets relate to private employees (does not include access to customer/mailing lists); the latter two relate more to governmental positions but will cover some private employer positions....An employee having signatory authority over third party funds or assets of $10,000 or more....An employee having authority to enter into financial agreements on behalf of the employer for over $10,000....Positions that allow employee to modify digital security systems....Persons required by §12.110 of the New York City code to provide disclosures relating to conflicts of interest.
Salary History: Key Municipal Employment Restriction on Private EmployersEffective October 31, 2017, New York City will prohibit employers from inquiring about a prospective employee’s salary history during all stages of the employment process. In the event that an employer is already aware of a prospective employee’s salary history, this bill prohibits reliance on that information in the determination of salary.

See the statute here for more information.

Notable Exceptions: The term “Salary History” does not include any objective measure of the applicant’s productivity such as revenue, sales, or other production reports. If the job applicant proactively discloses salary history, an employer may consider salary history and may even verify the job applicant’s salary history.
Salary History: Key Municipal Employment Restriction on Private EmployersEffective November 1, 2017, In New York City an employee or its “agent” cannot inquire about salary history. If the applicant “voluntarily” and “without prompting” discloses past salary, the employer can verify it.

Notable Exceptions: There are three exceptions: 1) Where federal or state law requires disclosure. 2) Internal transfers and promotions. 3) Unique Situations - If, when verifying other past employment information, salary is disclosed, employer may consider it, but not for salary, benefits, or other compensation.
Key Municipal Tenant Screening RestrictionNew York City requires certain practices for signage for businesses that conduct residential rental properties. A sign with the words "NOTICE ABOUT TENANT SCREENING REPORTS" must be printed at the top in one and one-half-inch high capital letters. If an entity is a CRA, then the sign must have the following in 24 point type: Tenant screening reports from consumer reporting agencies are sometimes used to assist landlords in making rental decisions. In regard to such reports (Check the applicable box): ____ We do not use such reports; ______ We may use such reports by contacting the following: {list agency}

See the statute here for more information.
Prohibits salary history inquiry during the hiring processState agencies are prohibited from inquiring about an applicant's past salary, per Executive Order 161, 1/19/17.
Use of arrest record with no convictionAn employer may not consider non-conviction information except for pending actions. See NY Exec Law #296 (16). If employers follow Article 23A of the NY Correction Law in selecting employees, then no evidence of negligent hiring may be admitted in court, see NY Exec Law #296 (15). Note that Article 23A deals with an ex-convict's employment rights, but is not applicable to employment in law enforcement. See the Resource Tab on Article 23A for details.

See the statute here for more information.
Use of Social Security NumbersNew York amended its laws effective December 12, 2012, regarding the use of Social Security numbers (and any number derived therefrom, which probably includes any redacted social security number). A consumer must provide consent for use of their Social Security number for background screening EXCEPT for employment purposes and to check criminal records. Tenant screening and other purposes will require consumer consent if more information beyond criminal records are obtained, such as credit reports.

See the statute here for more information.
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