Pennsylvania
  • Updated on 12 Mar 2020
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Pennsylvania

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Ban-The-Box & Fair Hiring Laws By State

We update this overview of ban-the-box rules often. But laws change quickly, and we cannot guarantee all information is current. Always consult your attorney for legal advice.

Guidance
Ban-the-box compliance, targeted screens, and individualized assessments apply only when taking adverse action due to criminal records. They are not required when taking adverse action based on non-criminal records.


STATE LAWS — PUBLIC SECTOR

Who must follow: This ban-the-box law applies only to public sector employers for the State of Pennsylvania that are hiring for non-civil service positions falling under the governor’s jurisdiction.

Timing of inquiry: Public sector employers for the state of Pennsylvania may not inquire into criminal history on the job application.

Adverse action implications:

  • Individualized assessment. This location requires an individualized assessment be performed prior to final adverse action.
  • Consideration of records. Employers should only consider pending cases and felony and misdemeanor convictions. Non-convictions should not be used in the hiring decision, nor should Summary Offenses.

STATE LAWS — PUBLIC AND PRIVATE SECTOR

Who must follow: This law applies to all employers in Pennsylvania, both public and private.

Adverse action implications:

  • Individualized assessment. All employers in Pennsylvania must assess whether convictions relate to the applicant’s suitability for employment in the position for which the applicant has applied.
  • Consideration of records. Employers should only consider pending cases and felony and misdemeanor convictions. Non-convictions should not be used in the hiring decision, nor should summary offenses.

COUNTY LAWS

ALLEGHENY COUNTY, PA – PUBLIC SECTOR

Who must follow: This ban-the-box law applies only to public sector employers for Allegheny County, PA.

Timing of inquiry: Public sector employers for Allegheny County may only inquire into criminal history after a conditional offer of employment.

Adverse action implications:

  • Individualized assessment. This location requires an individualized assessment be performed prior to final adverse action.

ALLENTOWN, PA – PUBLIC SECTOR

Who must follow: This ban-the-box law applies only to public sector employers for the city of Allentown, PA.

Timing of inquiry: Public sector employers for the city of Allentown, PA, may only inquire into criminal history after a conditional offer of employment.

Adverse action implications:

  • Individualized assessment. This location requires an individualized assessment be performed prior to final adverse action, in compliance with Pennsylvania state law.

BETHLEHEM, PA – PUBLIC SECTOR

Who must follow: This ban-the-box law applies only to public sector employers for the city of Bethlehem, PA.

Timing of inquiry: Public sector employers for the city of Bethlehem may only inquire into criminal history once an applicant is found qualified and deemed a finalist.

Adverse action implications:

  • Individualized assessment. This location requires an individualized assessment be performed prior to final adverse action.

LANCASTER, PA – PUBLIC SECTOR

Who must follow: This ban-the-box law applies only to public sector employers for the city of Lancaster, PA.

Timing of inquiry: Public sector employers for the city of Lancaster may only inquire into criminal history after a candidate is deemed a finalist.

Adverse action implications:

  • Individualized assessment. This location requires an individualized assessment be performed prior to final adverse action.

PHILADELPHIA, PA – PUBLIC AND PRIVATE SECTOR

Who must follow: This ban-the-box law applies to all public and private sector employers who employ at least one person in Philadelphia, PA.

Timing of inquiry: Employers in the city of Philadelphia may only inquire into criminal history after a conditional offer of employment.

Consideration of records: The City of Philadelphia prohibits employers from considering criminal convictions that occurred more than 7 years from the date of the inquiry. Employers may add to the 7-year period any time of actual incarceration served because of the offense.

Adverse action implications:

  • Individualized assessment. This location requires an individualized assessment be performed prior to final adverse action.
  • Pre-adverse action. The pre-adverse action process must provide an explanation as to why disqualification is being considered and must highlight all convictions supporting potential adverse action.
  • Waiting period. You must wait 10 business days between sending a pre-adverse action notice and sending a final adverse action notice.
  • Final adverse action. Your final adverse action process must inform the candidate of what specifically in the report lead to final adverse action.
  • Additional disclosure for public-sector city employers: If an applicant for city employment has a conviction within the past 7 years, employers must provide the following notice to the candidate: “If you can show that you were not incarcerated for this conviction at any point in the seven years prior to date of report, the city will not consider the conviction in reviewing your application for employment. You are invited to meet with the HR manager to discuss your record and submit information rebutting the criminal record within 10 business days of this notice.”

Credit History Restriction: Employers may not inquire into credit history when making an employment decision, unless the position falls under an exception listed under Philadelphia’s Fair Practices Ordinance (Phil. Code Chapter 9-1100 et seq).

PITTSBURGH, PA – PUBLIC SECTOR

Who must follow: This ban-the-box law applies only to city contractors and public sector employers for the city of Pittsburgh, PA.

Timing of inquiry: Public sector employers and city contractors may only inquire into criminal history after a conditional offer of employment.

Adverse action implications:

  • Individualized assessment: This location requires an individualized assessment be performed prior to final adverse action, in compliance with Pennsylvania state law.

READING, PA – PUBLIC SECTOR

Who must follow: This ban-the-box law applies only to public sector employers for the city of Reading, PA.

Timing of inquiry: Public sector employers for the city of Reading may only inquire into criminal history after a conditional offer of employment.

  • Individualized assessment: This location requires an individualized assessment be performed prior to final adverse action, in compliance with Pennsylvania state law.

YORK CITY, PA – PUBLIC SECTOR

Who must follow: This ban-the-box law applies only to public sector employers for York City, Pennsylvania.

Timing of inquiry: Public employers York City may not inquire into criminal history on the initial job application

Adverse action implications:

  • Individualized assessment: Prior to taking final adverse action against an offender, public sector employers must conduct an individualized assessment
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