NYAG advances ex-con rehab agenda; settles with Bed Bath & Beyond

PRESS RELEASE FROM NYAG

Attorney General Eric T. Schneiderman announced recently that his office has secured a settlement with Bed Bath & Beyond, a national retailer with 62 stores in New York, to ensure that applicants for employment are not automatically disqualified based on criminal convictions and without the individualized consideration that is required by New York State law. Bed Bath & Beyond operates over a thousand stores in total across the nation.

Under the settlement, the company agrees to take new steps that will ensure that the company complies with state laws which prohibit the automatic disqualification of job candidates with criminal convictions and that require that candidates with criminal records be given individualized consideration.

“My office is committed to ensuring equal access to employment opportunities for all New Yorkers,” Attorney General Schneiderman said. “The law in our state prohibits the automatic disqualification of job candidates with criminal backgrounds and this agreement puts employers on notice that slamming the door on job seekers based on past conduct without deciding whether that conduct is relevant to the current job is not only wrong – it’s unlawful.”

Under New York State law, employers must conduct an individualized evaluation of applicants’ criminal records, by considering a number of factors, including the nature and gravity of an applicant’s criminal conviction and its bearing, if any, on any specific responsibilities of the job sought, the time that elapsed since the conviction, the age of the applicant at the time when the offense was committed; and evidence of rehabilitation. Attorney General Schneiderman’s office is committed to enforcing laws that guarantee all New Yorkers have an equal opportunity to seek lawful employment.

After a human resources manager for Bed Bath & Beyond disseminated information at a job fair stating that the company did not hire individuals with felony convictions, regardless of any evidence of rehabilitation, the Attorney General’s Office conducted an investigation and determined that Bed Bath & Beyond had automatically disqualified job applicants with felony convictions, without conducting the individualized determination required by law.