Philadelphia’s Fair Criminal Records Screening Standards or “Ban the Box” ordinance, which restricts employment-related inquiries into criminal history, was amended this week. The amendment, which is to take effect March 15, 2016 (90 days from December 15, 2015) greatly expands the impact of the ordinance.
First, the amended ordinance will restrict even further an employer’s ability to make inquiries into criminal convictions during the application/interview process. Previously, employers were prohibited from asking applicants about criminal convictions on an application or otherwise before an initial interview. Under the amended ordinance, employers will be prohibited from asking applicants about criminal convictions at any time during the “application process,” which is defined to begin with an applicant’s inquiry about a position and to end with a conditional offer of employment. The amended ordinance defines “conditional offer of employment” as follows:
An offer by an employer to hire an applicant, which may be withdrawn only if the employer subsequently determines that the applicant (i) has a conviction record which, based on an individualized assessment . . . would reasonably lead an employer to conclude that the applicant would pose an unacceptable risk in the position applied for; or (ii) does not meet other legal or physical requirements of the job.