Philadelphia Amends 3 Ordinances Affecting Employer Screening Practices

April 7, 2021

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The City of Philadelphia Mayor, Jim Kenney, amended three (3) city ordinances; one regarding the use of criminal record information and two regarding the use of credit history information. The new amended legislations were effective on Thursday, April 1, 2021.

Bill No. 200413 will amend the “Unlawful Credit Screening Practices in Employment” Section of the Philadelphia Code by removing the language that applies to the use of credit history information by law enforcement and financial institutions.  Law Enforcement Agencies and Financial Institutions no longer have an automatic exemption under the amended law. These employers may use credit history information, but only if one of the other exceptions found in the original section of the ordinance applies, like the exception “If such information may be obtained pursuant to state or federal law” or “The job requires an employee to be bonded under city, state, or federal law”.

Bill No. 200614 will amend the “Unlawful Credit Screening Practices in Employment” Section of the Philadelphia Code by modifying the language regarding the City’s pre-adverse action process when using credit history information.  Under the amended law, employers that intend to take adverse action will no longer need to follow the City’s pre-adverse action process, but will now need to follow the FCRA pre-adverse action process regarding the use of credit history information.

Bill No. 200479 will amend the city’s ban the box law by including the below changes:

  • Expanding the definition for the term “Employee”.
  • Expand the definition for the term “Private Employer”.
  • The law will now apply to both current employees and applicants.
  • Employers will be allowed to inquire about pending charges, but only if the pending charges relate to the specific duties of the job and the employer has a written policy that details the pending charges that must be reported.
  • Employers may not take adverse action based on a pending criminal charge unless the charge bears a relationship to the duties of the job and the employer“ reasonably” concludes that the continued employment would pose an unacceptable risk to the business, co-workers, or customers and terminating the employee is “compelled by business necessity”.

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