In case you were wondering, the title to this blog is not a typo.  We have posted two recent blogs (March 22, 2011 and February 9, 2011) cautioning employers on the use of background checks.  Although there are currently several laws pending that would restrict the use of background checks, only one recently passed. 


On April 13, 2011, Philadelphia Mayor Michael A. Nutter signed an Ordinance restricting public and private employers with more than ten employees in the City of Philadelphia from inquiring into arrests and convictions.  The Ordinance will take effect July 12, 2011.  The key provisions provide:


  • Defines "application process" as beginning when the applicant inquires about employment being sought and ending when the employer accepts an employment application;
  • Employers may never, whether during the application process or thereafter, inquire into arrests that did not result in a conviction and which are not currently pending;
  • Employers may not ask on an application or during the application process about criminal convictions;
  • Employers may not ask about criminal convictions during the initial interview; and
  • If an employer chooses not to interview a candidate before making a job offer, then the employer may never inquire about the candidates criminal convictions.



What should employers do prior to July 12, 2011?

  1. Review employment applications to remove any questions asking applicants to disclose criminal history.
  2. If you don’t have a written application, develop one so there is no question as to when the application process ends.
  3. Train hiring managers and HR personnel to avoid asking improper questions