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Criminal Conviction Discrimination During the Interview or Hiring Process

New York City Lawyers Dedicated to Asserting the Rights of Employees

In our legal system, serving a prison term is intended to function as punishment for a certain offense. For many individuals with criminal convictions, however, the discrimination they face after being released from prison or jail, or from simply having convictions on their record, can continue for quite some time after the incident is over or their time has been served. At Phillips & Associates, our employment discrimination attorneys have helped many New York City residents who have faced mistreatment during the hiring process based on a criminal record. You may be able to receive compensation from a company that acted wrongfully toward you.

Federal Legal Protections for Job Applicants with Criminal Records

Roughly 65 million U.S. residents currently have criminal records. Other studies show that over 90 percent of employers will ask to run a criminal history check on job applicants. These two figures create a lot of headaches for applicants who are otherwise qualified for a position. At the federal level, Title VII of the Civil Rights Act of 1964 prevents an employer from engaging in any type of employment discrimination, including decisions that extend to the hiring process.

Also, the Equal Employment Opportunity Commission (EEOC) has provided a number of guidance documents explaining to employers how they may lawfully identify applicants whose criminal records present an unreasonable risk. In determining whether an offense qualifies as presenting an unreasonable risk, the employer must evaluate:

  • The gravity and nature of the criminal offense or conduct;
  • The amount of time that has passed since the sentence or offense occurred; and
  • The nature of the job to be performed, including the location of the performance, the amount of supervision, and the level of interaction with other employees.

Additionally, the EEOC has advised employers to provide applicants with criminal records a chance to discuss any incidents and explain what happened, including any circumstances or information that may mitigate the situation.

State Laws Shielding Workers with Convictions

Under New York law, applicants also have a number of protections. There is a law prohibiting an employer with 10 or more employees from refusing to hire an applicant due to his or her criminal conviction, unless hiring the individual would pose an unreasonable risk to public or individual safety, or the conviction has a direct relationship to the job in question.

If an employer in the state wants to consider an applicant’s criminal conviction, the employer must examine at least eight different factors, including any information the applicant offers about rehabilitation efforts, the seriousness of the offense, the age of the applicant at the time of the offense, and the state policy encouraging hiring people who have been convicted of crimes.

Enlist an Employment Discrimination Attorney in New York City

If you believe that you may have been the victim of discrimination during an interview or at another stage in the hiring process, you may be entitled to compensation. At Phillips & Associates, our experienced lawyers have helped workers fight employment discrimination and wrongful termination throughout the five boroughs of New York City, including Manhattan, Queens, and the Bronx as well as in Westchester County and Long Island. We offer a free consultation, so you have nothing to lose. Call us at (212) 248-7431 or contact us online to set up your appointment.

What Our Clients Say?
"Phillips & Associates did a wonderful job. I would recommend Brittany Stevens." Angel
"Employment dispute I had a dispute with my former employer, Jesse Weinstein was patient and thorough with my case. He covered every angle and was able to help me with my dispute. I would recommend Jesse Weinstein and Phillips and Associates in the future to anyone." Margaret
"Hands down the best law firm for labor disputes in NYC. Being in the restaurant industry for more than 30 years I can say that this law firm is the number one choice for workers in the restaurant business that need to sue their company for wrongful termination. A special compliment to my lawyer Brittany Stevens. An amazing person and well prepared experienced lawyer. She was professional and empathetic to my case and worked in a time appropriate manner. She never miss a phone call at any hour of the day. Brittany and her team helped me with what I needed, when I needed it. I want to thank them all (especially Brittany), for a job well done." Massimo
"Jesse Weinstein handled my discrimination case. He was extremely patient and understanding throughout the process and remained professional and consistent even when I could not. I really felt like he had my back and I didn't have to worry. His expertise, combined with the experience of the Firm, resulted in the best possible outcome of my case. Although I wouldn't wish what I went through on anyone, things do and always will happen and I would highly recommend Jesse and this Firm to anyone facing discrimination or other workplace issues." Karen
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