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And Another Thing...

Executive summary of Philadelphia BILL NO. 110111-A

What: New ordinance for when employers can gather criminal records information from applicants

Why:   Persons with criminal records suffer from pervasive discrimination. The intent of the Ordinance is to allow individual with a criminal record an opportunity to be judged on his or her own merit during the submission of the application and at least until the completion of one interview.


1.      City agency

2.      private employer within the City of Philadelphia.

a. “ Private employer" means any person, company, corporation, labor organization or association which employs ten or more persons within the City of Philadelphia.


1.      You may not make any inquiry regarding or to require any person to disclose or reveal any criminal convictions during the application process. 

a.   The application process shall begin when the applicant inquires about the employment being sought and shall end when an employer has accepted an employment application. 

2.      You may not  make any inquiry regarding, or to require any person to disclose or reveal any criminal convictions against such person before and during the first interview.


Failure to comply:

Fines would be levied as "Class III" offense and any person who violates this Chapter shall be subject to a fine as set forth in §1-109(3).

Violations of the Ordinance can result in the assessment of a maximum civil penalty of $2,000 per violation

Of note:  The ordinance should not be construed to require an employer to hire someone with a criminal record, nor to limit an employer’s ability to choose the most qualified and appropriate applicant for the employment opportunity at hand.

 Recommendation for our clients who employ more than 10 people within the City of Philadelphia:

  1. Remove criminal background question from your application.
  2. Complete criminal records background check with your final candidates.  Not only does this decrease your costs but it also takes away the claim of dismissing candidates with prejudice.  Recommended timing is post offer; with hire contingent on clean background check.
  3. For more information on Criminal Record Background Check and Best Practices please see our related article on “Candidate Disqualification for Criminal Conduct  - What is the Law? “

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