Broader ban-the-box law taking effect in Philly

by Brittany E. McCabe

A more far-reaching version of Philadelphia’s ban-the-box law covering all employers in the city is set to take effect March 14.

On December 15, 2015, Mayor Michael Nutter signed an amended version of the city’s 2011 law that limits when employers can inquire about job applicants’ criminal background. Key changes include:

  • The new version applies to all public and private employers in the city with one or more employees. The old law covered only employers with at least 10 employees.
  • Employers must wait to make criminal record inquiries until after they extend a conditional offer of employment, not after a first interview as required by the original law.
  • Employers may consider only convictions that occurred in the last seven years, excluding any periods of incarceration. Previously, employers could look back as far as they chose.
  • Employers must consider specific factors when determining whether to reject an applicant based on his criminal record.
  • If an employer rejects an applicant based in whole or in part on a criminal record, it must notify the applicant of its decision and reason in writing and provide a copy of the criminal history report. Applicants will have 10 business days following the rejection to provide an explanation or evidence of inaccuracies in the report.
  • Applicants will have 300 calendar days after a rejection to file a complaint with the Philadelphia Commission on Human Relations.
  • Employers must post a summary of the law’s requirements in a conspicuous place on their websites and in their premises.

Details of Philadelphia’s revised ban-the-box ordinance were originally published in the February 2016 issue of Pennsylvania Employment Law Letter.

Brittany E. McCabe is an attorney with Saul Ewing LLP in Philadelphia. She can be reached at