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Pennsylvania Court Rules Background Screening Law Unconstitutional

On December 30, 2015, the Commonwealth Court in Pennsylvania unanimously found the Older Adults Protective Services Act’s (the Act) lifetime prohibition on the ability of individuals with convictions to hold certain jobs in nursing homes and long-term care facilities to be unconstitutional on its face, under its interpretation of the Pennsylvania state constitution.1 Specifically, the court held that the lifetime ban provisions violate a convicted individual’s due process rights because the individual is penalized for engaging in conduct that may have happened decades ago and is presumed unfit for the jobs at issue. The court also concluded that the law’s lifetime ban on the ability of convicted individuals to work for these types of employers is not “substantially related” to the purpose set out in the Act, which is to protect older persons from abuse, neglect and exploitation.