Criminal Records and Jobs
Under federal law, it is illegal to deny you employment (or fire you) because of your criminal record if the policy or practice disproportionately and unjustifiably excludes people of a particular race or national origin (or another protected category). Because more African Americans and Hispanics are incarcerated in the United States, and have criminal records, policies that deny employment because of conviction status often have a disparate impact on those populations, and thus are illegal race discrimination. Click here for guidance from the Equal Employment Opportunities Commission about criminal conviction bans, and how they affect employers and you.
Under federal law, you also have the right to know what is on your background check before an employer makes any decision based on the report that affect your employment. Click here to read more about your background check rights under the Fair Credit Reporting Act, as prepared by the Federal Trade Commission.
Additionally, in New York state, it is illegal to deny employment because of a criminal record unless the employer makes an inquiry into the factors laid out in section 753 of the New York Correction Law. It is the expressed public policy of New York State and City to encourage the employment of persons with criminal records. Click here to read about your protections against criminal conviction discrimination under New York Law.