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New York Clean Slate Act Will Seal Certain Old Criminal Records

19 Dec

Update Applicable to:  Effective date
All employers and multi-state business (with exceptions) with at least 1 worker in the State.  November 16, 2024.

What happened?

On Nov. 16, 2023, New York State Gov. Kathy Hochul signed legislation known as the Clean Slate Act, to automatically seal from public access criminal records for individuals convicted of a certain crime (misdemeanors and certain Felonies).

What are the details?

Under the law, the conviction records of individuals convicted of certain state crimes will be sealed from public access once the individuals have satisfied their sentence and remain “clean” for a specified amount of time. This legislation is not intended to affect, nor will it change, access to permissible information on out-of-state or federal convictions through publicly accessible records, nor modify employers’ obligations under the federal Fair Credit Reporting Act or Article 23-A.

Convictions Eligible for a clean slate:

An individual will be given an automatic sealing (a clean slate) for:

  • For a misdemeanor conviction, at least three years have passed since the individual’s release from incarceration or the imposition of sentence if there was no sentence of incarceration.
  • For a felony conviction, at least eight years have passed from the date the individual was last released from incarceration, if the individual does not have a criminal charge pending, and the individual is not currently under the supervision of any probation or parole department.
  • For certain convictions of the vehicle and traffic law will be sealed after three years.

The sealing will apply only if the conditions by law are met, and are not eligible for sealing Class A felonies for which a maximum sentence of life imprisonment can be imposed (e.g., murder and domestic terror) and convictions requiring registration as a sex offender. And pending criminal charges.

Permissible Access to the records: for a list of individuals and entities that will be able to access otherwise sealed records: here.

The law also permits a private right of action by any individual who had a conviction sealed, allowing the individual to collect damages against a person who disclosed the sealed conviction if it meets certain conditions.

This is a similar law to the one on Connecticut, reported by Vensure here.

Business Considerations

  • Review and update your screening policies, practices, and procedures, considering this new law and how it will impact your business.
  • Consult an attorney if necessary.


Source References

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This communication is intended solely for the purpose of conveying information. The present post might incorporate hyperlinks directing readers to websites managed by third-party entities. The inclusion of any links within this communication is meant to serve as points of reference and could encompass opinion articles from various law firms, articles from HR associations, official websites, news releases, and documents of government agencies, and other relevant third-party sources. Vensure has no authority over these external websites and bears no responsibility for their content. Furthermore, Vensure does not endorse the materials present on these websites. The contents of this communication should not be interpreted as legal advice or as a legal standpoint concerning specific facts or scenarios. Nor should it be deemed an exhaustive compilation of facts potentially pertinent to federal, state, or local laws. It is strongly advised that employers solicit legal guidance from an employment attorney when undertaking actions in response to any legal updates provided. This is due to the possibility of future alterations occurring in federal, state, and local laws, regulations, as well as the directives and guidelines issued by governing agencies. These changes may transpire at any given time, potentially rendering certain portions of the content within this update void or inaccurate.

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