New York (NY) Employment Background Checks Criminal Records

                      A  current New York county / borough criminal records  background check is recommended for the most up to date and complete employment screening background
                      check  information

Fee Increase for New York Criminal Searches

As of May 1, 2008 the New York State office of Court Administration raised it search fee from $52 to $55. Although this seems like a hefty fee, the search includes felony and misdemeanor convictions from all 62 counties. This search has proven to be a very thorough search if your applicant has resided in New York. Click here for more information.


Tuesday, August 28, 2007


Employment Screening and Criminal Background Checks New York

I alluded to something called the Office of Court Administration (OCA) in a post earlier this week concerning criminal background checks in the state of New York. The OCA is a topic that affects any employer that wishes to conduct a background check in New York. It is especially abhorred by those that primarily hire in this area.

The OCA was established in July, 2003 as a way to consolidate court records from each of New York's Upper and Lower Courts. Many, including myself believe that the allure of doing so was to create a lucrative revenue stream. Upon it's creation 16 counties including the New York City burroughs disallowed access to their records, instead directing those seeking public records to the OCA. Further, the lower county and municipal courts shut off access as well.

What is the OCA good for? The OCA is a one-stop shop for a criminal background check. One search will give will every felony and misdemeanor conviction for the entire state. Furthermore, results are usually reported within 24 hours. You would think employers would be bowing to the state for creating such a system.

Here's the rub. The state decided to charge an access fee of $55.00 per name. Homer Simpson might say "DOH!". This is by far and away the largest access fee charged in the country for obtaining a public record and can make the process of employment screening cost prohibitive for some employers. And by the way, that's just the access fee. That doesn't cover the fee employers pay to the Consumer Reporting Agency (background checking company).

Is there a way around it? No. If your applicant has lived in one of the 16 counties that has completely shut off access, this is the only game in town. If the applicant has lived in a county that does not block access, they can do a felony-only search in that county's Upper Court. While this will produce felony records, misdemeanors cannot be identified without utilizing the OCA system.

Here's a list of OCA-only Counties:
New York


For residents of the State Of New York we recommend:

Multi State (44 state) Search (Includes Sex Offender search) for $18.50

SSN Trace (Past 10 year Address History) $4.00

At least one County Criminal Searches (The County searches including court fees which are listed below)

Allegheny $67.00

Bronx      $67.00

Cayuga  $67.00

Cortland  $67.00

Dutchess  $31.00

Greene  $32.50

Hamilton $67.00

Kings  $67.00

Madison $25.00

Montgomery $67.00

Nassau $67.00

New York$67.00

Onondaga $31.00

Orange $31.00

Orleans $67.00

Oswego $35.00

Putnam $31.00

Queens $67.00

Rensselaer $35.00

Richmond $67.00

Rockland $32.00

Saint Lawrence $20.00

Saratoga $31.00

Schenectady $31.00

Schuyler $20.00

Steuben $25.00

Suffolk $31.00

Tompkins $35.00

Westchester $31.00

Wyoming $30.00

For New Jersey

We recommend the Multi-state (44 state) for $18.50 which includes the sex offender registry in all of those states,
a 10 year address history/social security number trace for $4.00
plus the New Jersey Statewide criminal background check for $11.00 plus a
New jersey county criminal
background check for $15.00


New York Dept of Corrections
Corrections records of statewide felony convictions of persons incarcerated in one of 70 state facilities and who have been released since Jan. 1, 1990. Records on approximately 400,000 persons. Records updated quarterly. Results may include defendant name, DOB, race, sex, offense description, case #, county of offense, sentence and sentence date. Records updated quarterly.

New York Sex Offender
The New York Sex Offender Registry contains information on sex offenders classified according to their risk of re-offending: low-risk (Level 1), moderate-risk (Level 2) and high-risk (Level 3). This information is on those registered Level 3 sex offenders who committed their crimes after January 21, 1996. Data is collected from the registration agency, which may be a court, a State or local correctional facility or a probation or parole agency, or from the sex offender directly. Updated Monthly


DATE: 11/1/2007
SOURCE: Mondaq Legal News Network
AUTHOR: Proskauer Rose LLP's Labor & Emp. Practice Group
New York Enacts Significant New Employment Laws
New Restrictions On Inquiries and Consideration of Conviction Records

Effective November 1, 2007, New York employers may no longer inquire into, or make an adverse employment decision based on, an applicant’s or employee’s having been convicted of a criminal offense when the conviction record has been sealed pursuant to Section 160.55 of the Criminal Procedure Law or when the conviction is classified as a youthful offender adjudication under Section 720.35(1) of the Criminal Procedure Law. The new law, which is an amendment to Section 296(16) of the New York State Executive Law (the "Human Rights Law"), does not apply to the licensing activities of governmental bodies in relation to the regulation of guns, firearms and deadly weapons or in relation to an application for employment as a police or peace officer. See Assemb. A3379, 2007-2008 Reg. Sess. (N.Y. 2007). This change expands the protections from discrimination for exoffenders and is in keeping with New York public policy to provide employment opportunities to individuals who have already "served their debt to society" and reduce recidivism caused by lack of employment and income.

This amendment adds to the legal protections for exoffenders, including those implemented in July 18, 2007, when Sections 750, 751, and 752 of the Corrections Law were amended to make clear that the prohibition of discrimination based on past convictions applies not just to applicants but also to existing employees. See Assemb. A3208, 2007-2008 Reg. Sess. (N.Y. 2007). Thus, under the current law, employers are prohibited from making adverse hiring or employment decisions based on past convictions unless the offense has a direct relationship to the employment sought or held, or to the opportunity or job in question, or unless the granting or continuation of employment would involve an unreasonable risk to property or to the safety or welfare of specific individuals or the general public.

New York employers have long been prohibited from inquiring into an applicant’s arrest record or record of criminal accusations to the extent the arrest or accusation was dropped or otherwise terminated in favor of the applicant, except as to applicants for police and peace officers. Currently, there is no prohibition of inquiries about pending arrests and criminal accusations.

All employers are advised to carefully review their application forms and hiring and background screening procedures to ensure compliance with these amendments.
The hiring practices of one of the most famous entertainment venues in the world have been called discriminatory as the result of a background criminal check that turned up a job candidate’s assault conviction.

Posted 08/25/2008 A New York City law firm filed a complaint with the [2] Equal Employment Opportunity Commission claiming [3] Madison Square Garden discriminates against African-American job applicants by illegally using criminal history reports in making hiring decisions.

The EEOC complaint alleges that Carlene Clarke, 27, received an employment offer letter from New York’s Madison Square Garden in September 2007 which was rescinded a month later after a background check discovered she had pleaded guilty to misdemeanor assault more than five years earlier.

According to the [4] press release issued by [5] Outten & Golden LLP, which represents Clarke, the rationale for the complaint is that “use of criminal histories in making hiring and other employment decisions has a disparate impact on African-Americans.”

Outten & Golden attorney Justin M. Swartz said, “The fact is, about one in five U.S. adults has a criminal record, and a disproportionate number of them are African-Americans and Hispanics.”

An MSG official declined to discuss the complaint, but emailed us a statement saying, “Ms. Clarke pleaded guilty to assault. We conduct criminal background checks in order to ensure the safety of our fans and employees. This policy is not discriminatory.”

New York is one of only a handful of states that has laws specifically limiting an employer’s ability to exclude job-seekers with a criminal record. Federal courts have also extended [6] Civil Rights Act protection to minorities with criminal records, requiring in the case of convictions for an employer to consider the passage of time, the nature of the crime, and its relationship to the position.

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