Phillips & Associates

Criminal Conviction

The New York criminal conviction discrimination attorneys at Phillips & Associates are reputed for their work in pursuing workplace equality. Phillips & Associates are highly regarded for having an extensive understanding of workplace discrimination cases and their longstanding commitment to fairness in the workplace. Our firm is renowned for our dedication, integrity, and compassion, which we bring to every discrimination matter for which we are retained.


Typically, criminal conviction discrimination involves a worker being denied one or more opportunities because of a past crime for which he that individual was convicted. The reason that this type of discrimination occurs is because many employers hold the unfounded view that once an individual has been convicted of a crime, that individual will always be undependable or irresponsible. Yet, this type of discrimination fails to take into account that often individuals learn from their mistakes and have changed for the better. People should not be disadvantaged for mistakes for which they were punished, and now renounce. Lawmakers at both the State and Federal levels have put protections into place to ensure that this type of criminal conviction discrimination does not prevent workers’ abilities to get jobs.

Criminal conviction discrimination takes on various forms, but tends to occur most often when an applicant is first looking to be hired. Some examples of this type of illegal discrimination include:

  • Asking the potential employee during the interview, or on the employment application, whether he or she has been arrested. (Note: questions about pending criminal cases are permitted)
  • Refusing to hire the person due to a prior arrest, even though it did not result in conviction
  • Denying the position solely due to them having a criminal conviction

Other varieties of conviction discrimination may involve an unfair reduction of work-hours or skipping someone when they are due a promotion solely because of that person’s past criminal conviction. If you believe you are a victim of unfair discrimination as a result of your criminal conviction history, we recommend you contact one of our criminal conviction discrimination lawyers immediately to discuss your options. Call us at (212) 248-7431 for a no-charge initial consultation.


New York State has set various protections into place that make discrimination for prior convictions illegal. With the exception of law enforcement jobs, pursuant to New York Law, employers that employ a particular number of workers are disallowed from discriminating against an employee solely due to the employee’s criminal conviction record unless: 1) there is a direct relationship between the prior conviction and job sought; or 2) hiring the employee is going to be an unreasonable risk to property or will pose a safety issue.

By direct relationship, this law means that the underlying type of the criminal conviction directly affects a worker’s ability to perform any of the necessary job duties. Also, an employer that takes an applicant’s past conviction record into account must consider various factors prior to refusing to hire that individual. These factors include: (1) the extent of time that has elapsed since conviction; (2), the applicant’s age at the time of the offense; (3) the severity of the offense; and (4) the state’s public policy interests in providing employment for those with prior convictions. If the employer still denies the applicant due to the conviction history, then the employer must provide the applicant a statement describing the reason for its decision within 30 days of the applicant’s request.


In an effort to assist employers when they evaluate applicants with criminal convictions, The Equal Employment Opportunity Commission (EEOC) has provided guidance on how to lessen the risk of discriminatory behavior.

These include:

  • The type and magnitude of the crime or its related conduct;
  • The time that has elapsed since the crime occurred or the sentence has been completed, and
  • The tasks involved in the job itself, such as the way the job is supposed to be performed, the amount of time the worker is unsupervised, and the duration of interaction with others.

Although there are no federal laws explicitly prohibiting discrimination based on prior criminal convictions, this type of discriminatory practice may in some cases constitute illegal discrimination based on race or color due to its disparate impact on certain classes of people.


If you applied for a job but were not treated fairly because of a criminal conviction, call one of our New York criminal conviction discrimination lawyers immediately for assistance. Do not ignore your rights, and don’t be a victim of unfair treatment. Our lawyers handle criminal conviction discrimination cases throughout New York. We fight to enforce your rights to fair treatment in the workplace. Call Phillips & Associates to schedule a complimentary initial consultation (212) 248-7431 or Contact Us online.

45 Broadway, #620,
New York NY, 10006
Tel: 212-248-7431
Fax: 212-901-2107
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