Philadelphia’s Revised “Ban on the Box” Law Takes Freedom from Employers

City of Brotherly Love Enacts Sweeping Changes to its Ban-the-Box Law

On December 15, 2015, Philadelphia Mayor Michael Nutter signed far-reaching amendments to the city’s “Ban the Box” law, the Philadelphia Fair Criminal Records Screening Ordinance (“the Ordinance”). In enacting the amendments, Philadelphia joins New York City and New Jersey in requiring that employers remove any questions on job applications related to criminal convictions as well as revise their entire criminal record screening programs. The amendments became effective on March 14, 2016, and apply to all employers in the city — public and private — with 1 or more employees, as opposed to 10 workers in the original law. Employers hiring for domestic services, such as child or elderly care, however, are exempt from this law.

Here are some highlights.

  • Inquiry into criminal background – post offer of employment.
  • Employer can only consider convictions within the last seven years (or release from confinement).
  • Special disclosure is required before obtaining information.
  • If applicant is rejected he/she must be advised as to why and provided a copy of the record.


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