NEW YORK (Legal Newsline) - New York Attorney General Eric Schneiderman announced on Thursday that his office secured agreements with four background check agencies to resolve allegations they illegally disqualified job seekers.

HireRight Inc., First Advantage, General Information Services Inc. and Sterling Infosystems allegedly followed instructions provided by employers to automatically disqualify job applicants based on the information contained in a criminal background report. New York state law requires that employers consider multiple mitigating factors in making hiring decisions based on criminal history and prohibits third parties from aiding and abetting employers in violating the statute.

"New Yorkers who have paid their debt to society deserve a fair shot at employment opportunities," Schneiderman said. "Background check agencies that implement blanket bans on hiring ex-offenders are violating New York state law. My office is committed to reforming practices in this industry that frustrate efforts at rehabilitation."

Under the terms of the agreements, the four background check agencies agreed to follow state laws that make it illegal to disqualify job applicants based completely on criminal history. The agencies agreed not to issue automatic rejection letters triggered by a conviction on the behalf of employers to make sure employers conduct required individualized assessments of potential candidates.

By focusing on four of largest background check agencies in the nation who are relied upon by employers throughout New York state, Schneiderman seeks to make employers follow the law and ensure all New Yorkers receive equal access to job opportunities.

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