A lawsuit was recently filed against FedEx by a job applicant, alleging that FedEx violated New York City’s Fair Chance Act (FCA) “when it checked his criminal history before deciding whether to offer him a job.”
When he applied for the job, the applicant consented to a background check (and does not dispute his criminal record), but never heard back from FedEx after they sent him a copy of the results.
Under the FCA, “companies are prohibited from considering or inquiring about the criminal history of applicants until after they extend conditional job offers.”
The lawsuit states, “The Fair Chance Act was enacted to protect individuals with criminal convictions against irrational discrimination in employment and thus facilitate their reentry into society. Defendants’ policy of discriminating against individuals with conviction histories frustrates these public policy objectives.” Only once an offer is made may the company ask about a criminal history. Additionally, even if the applicant does, in fact, have a criminal history, the company may not revoke the job offer unless the past incident has a “direct relationship” to the position at issue.
FedEx issued the following statement in response to the lawsuit: “FedEx Ground is committed to complying with all laws that apply to our operations in New York.”
New York City employers, like FedEx, continue to struggle with the challenges the FCA presents, especially with regard to the stringent revisions that significantly expand protections for applicants and employees with criminal backgrounds, including convictions, charges, and arrests. While there is a general consensus in securing fairness for all applicants, employers are questioning where the fairness is for them.
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At Hire Image, we understand ongoing compliance in the face of shifting laws, regulations, and the cases that interpret them. Please contact us if you need any assistance in reviewing your policies and procedures. For more information about Ban the Box and other laws that may affect you in your state, please visit our Resource Library.