Mark Iandolo Jan. 22, 2016, 3:43pm


NEW YORK (Legal Newsline) — Big Lots Stores and Marshalls–major retailers in New York–have agreed to remove questions about criminal history on initial employment applications, New York Attorney General Eric T. Schneiderman has announced.

Buffalo law requires that employers do not inquire into criminal history on initial employment applications. The settlement will ensure that Big Lots and Marshalls comply with that law, as well as force these companies to take the additional step of removing criminal history inquiries from applications to any New York State store.

“Obtaining meaningful employment is often the most crucial step toward reducing the chances of recidivism among formerly incarcerated persons,” Schneiderman said. “That is why my office is committed to breaking down barriers that impede rehabilitation, especially those that prevent fair access to employment.”

Buffalo is one of several municipalities, including the state’s three largest cities, to enact “Ban the Box” legislation. The goal of these laws is to get companies to make initial decisions based on a person’s merits. Later in the process, companies can then make individualized inquiries. If a candidate does have a criminal history, the company can determine whether it is relevant to the job or public safety, according to the state.

Big Lots and Marshalls have additionally agreed to pay a monetary penalty of $100,000 and $95,000 respectively.

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