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City of Philadelphia

Ban the Box Law At-A-Glance

It is illegal in Philadelphia for most employers to ask about your criminal background during the job application process.

Employers cannot ask about your criminal background on job applications or during any job interview. 

Employers can run your criminal background check ONLY AFTER a conditional offer of employment is made (final hiring depend on the results of your background check).

  • Criminal convictions can be considered ONLY if they occurred less than 7 years from when you apply (not counting time of incarceration).
  • Arrests that did not lead to conviction cannot be used in any employment decisions.

If your background check reveals a conviction, the employer must consider: 
  • The type of offense and the time that has passed since it occurred.
  • Its connection to the job you are applying for; and 
  • Your job history, character references, and any evidence of rehabilitation.

Employers can reject you based on your criminal record ONLY if you pose an unacceptable risk to the business or to other people.

If you are rejected, the employer must send the decision to you in writing with a copy of the background report used to make the decision.
  • You have 10 days to give an explanation of your record, proof that it is wrong, or proof of rehabilitation.

Examples of unlawful acts under the Ban the Box law

  • Asking about criminal records on an job application.
  • Asking about criminal records during any job interview. 
  • Asking about criminal records at any time before making a conditional offer of employment.
  • Making any adverse personnel action against an employee for arrests that did not lead to conviction.
  • Rejecting an applicant without weighing the type of offense, when it occurred and the connection to the job. 
  • Rejecting an applicant without conducting an individualized assessment. 
  • Failing to provide the applicant with notice of the rejection, and a copy of the criminal background report. 
  • Failing to provide the applicant with an opportunity to respond to the background report.