Legal Aid Society


LAS Applauds City’s Expansion of Fair Chance Act

The Legal Aid Society applauded the City’s expansion of “Fair Chance Act” protections, which prohibit employers from discriminating on the basis of pending criminal cases unless the employer makes a proper determination that there’s a direct relationship between the job and the conviction, or that the person poses an unreasonable risk to people or property.

“The goal is to ensure that contact with the criminal legal system doesn’t disrupt employment, especially since most criminal cases in the city do not result in conviction, Melissa Ader, Supervising Attorney of the Worker Justice Project at the Legal Aid Society, told City Limits.

Ader’s project provided advice or legal assistance to workers in around 1,200 criminal record discrimination matters in the last year and she notes that “in approximately 80 percent of adult criminal cases in New York City, the person charged is never convicted of a crime.”

“Most often what we see is somebody who’s charged with assault, let’s say, and then the case is dismissed, or somebody is charged with petit larceny or grand larceny, and the case is resolved with a plea to disorderly conduct and is eventually sealed,” she added. “It is extremely common for these cases to result either in dismissal or in a resolution that’s a non-criminal disposition.”