Governor Kathy Hochul of New York has officially signed into law the Clean Slate Act, a legislation designed to seal specific criminal records. The act mandates that individuals who have successfully completed their sentences and maintained a clean record for a defined period, typically three years for misdemeanors and eight years for eligible felonies, will have their convictions concealed.
However, it's important to note that certain severe crimes, such as sex offenses, murder, and most Class A felonies, will not qualify for automatic sealing. While the law is slated to come into effect in a year, it will take an additional three years to clear the records of those currently awaiting such relief. It's worth mentioning that law enforcement and court personnel, as well as select sensitive employers, will retain access to these sealed records.
Furthermore, within New York City, the Fair Chance Act requires employers with four or more employees to follow specific guidelines during the hiring process, ensuring that an applicant's criminal history is not considered until a conditional job offer has been extended. Employers are allowed, though not obligated, to inquire about an applicant's criminal conviction history or pending criminal cases post-conditional offer. It is essential for employers to be aware that certain arrest and conviction information remains strictly off-limits, including inquiries regarding arrests that did not culminate in a criminal conviction. If an employer wants to rescind an offer of employment on account of the conviction, the Fair Chance Act requires specific steps that must be followed.
The attorneys at Outside Legal Counsel LLP represent both employers and employees. We can help ensure that employers are adopting and complying with policies and procedures that in are in compliance with the law. We can also help employees that have been aggrieved by unlawful policies and failure to adhere to procedures. Please reach out to us for more information about our services and how we can help you.
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