New York Attorney General Eric T. Schneiderman reached a settlement on Thursday with Party City, who agreed to no longer automatically disqualify prospective employees or hinder advancement of current employees based on past criminal convictions.
Party City is a national retail chain employing approximately 5,000 people in its 49 New York stores. The settlement ensures the company's compliance with state laws prohibiting discrimination against individuals with criminal records and requires it to pay a $95,000 penalty.
An investigation by the attorney general's office allegedly found that anyone with a felony conviction could not move past part-time seasonal work with Party City.
New York state law states that before an employer can reject applicants based on their criminal history, the employer must individually assess the applicant’s record to determine whether it is relevant to the job. The employer must consider factors such as the nature and gravity of an applicant's criminal conviction and its bearing on the specific job sought. These laws are set to ensure that every New Yorker has a right to earn a living.
As part of the settlement, Party City will also remove inquiries about criminal history from its employment applications.
“An applicant’s criminal history does not give employers a right to slam the door in his face,” Schneiderman said.