Phillips & Associates

Criminal History Discrimination During the Interview Process

New York City Lawyers Fighting For a Fair Chance for Job Applicants

It can be extremely challenging for people with a criminal history to find a job. Even employers in industries in which there is little risk may not hire an applicant who has a criminal history. No federal laws explicitly prevent employers from asking questions about criminal history during the interview process. However, to varying degrees, both New York State law and New York City law provide special protections against criminal history discrimination during the interview process. In some cases, race discrimination is also implicated by criminal history discrimination during an interview. At Phillips & Associates, our New York City criminal history discrimination attorneys may be able to help you pursue a legal claim if you have been mistreated in this way.

Criminal History Discrimination During the Interview Process

Many job applicants are excluded from being hired solely because of their criminal record, without the employer making any effort to look into other aspects of their lives that would make them a good fit. Both city law and state law include some form of protection against criminal history discrimination during an interview, but New York City law provides the greater protection of the two.

City Law

New York enacted a ban-the-box law, the Fair Chance Act, which went into effect in 2015. It amended the New York City Human Rights Law. Under this law, all employers in the city that have at least four employees are prohibited from inquiring into a job applicant's criminal history until after making a conditional offer of employment.

In other words, employers cannot include a requirement that you check a box on your employment application if you have been convicted of a crime or have an arrest pending. During the interview process, a prospective employer cannot directly ask you about your criminal history, or even search public records to determine whether you have a criminal history. Employers are not allowed to include any statement in a job posting that a criminal conviction could affect your chance of employment, except when the law requires this.

Employers can only make inquiries about a criminal conviction after making a conditional offer of employment. If you were adversely affected because a prospective employer inquired about your criminal history during the interview process, you may have recourse to file a lawsuit or pursue administrative remedies with the assistance of an attorney.

State Law

New York state law also regulates employers' efforts to look into a job applicant's criminal history. The state law applies outside the city and complements the city law within the city. Under the state law, during an interview, employers are not allowed to ask you about arrests that never led to a conviction, specific sealed records, and juvenile adjudications. However, outside New York City, an employer can ask you about pending arrests and accusations. If you were recently arrested for shoplifting, an employer outside New York City may inquire about it. Within New York City, an employer cannot ask about it until after a conditional offer is made.

Under Article 23-A of the New York Correction Law, employers that make criminal history conviction inquiries are required to analyze the relationship between the criminal conviction and the job for which the applicant is applying before making an employment decision. Employers are not allowed to deny employment on the basis of a criminal conviction unless hiring you would present an unreasonable risk to property or safety or unless the conviction has a direct relationship to the work. There are eight factors that the prospective employer needs to take into account when conducting the analysis, such as the nature of the crime at issue, when it was committed, and your age at the time of committing it.

Retain a New York City Lawyer for Your Criminal History Discrimination Claim

Interviews can be a stressful process. People with a criminal record can have a difficult time even getting called for an interview, making it especially important to hold employers accountable for their discrimination. Our experienced New York City attorneys believe that people with criminal convictions should be considered on the merits of their application when applying for a job. We understand how to pursue damages after a job applicant faces criminal history discrimination during the interview process, and we may be able to help you. Call us at (212) 248-7431 or contact us via our online form. We fight criminal history discrimination in the Bronx, Queens, Brooklyn, and Manhattan, as well as in Nassau, Suffolk, and Westchester Counties and in New Jersey.

45 Broadway, #620,
New York NY, 10006
Tel: 646-362-6941
Fax: 212-901-2107
Client Reviews
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.The other associates that assisted Brittany were Yusha Hiraman, Eugenio Benvenuto and Katerina Housos. They were all professional and answered any questions or concerns that I had. 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
I was a client with this law firm. I can't stress enough how awesome and professional the people are here. Silvia & Erica made me feel so comfortable and welcome. I never had to guess anything. Anytime I call, emailed, or even texted. They were always there. If not they would get back to me as soon as possible. My case was not an easy situation for me but I tell you these guys made it seem like it was. I'm so glad that I use Phillip & Phillip. I thank you guys from the bottom of my heart. I am so grateful to have met such awesome, honest, and caring people. Thank you again. Djuana
I highly recommend Parisis (Gerry) Fillippatos with Phillips & Associates to represent you for employment related matters. He and his team were professional, attentive to every detail and brilliant at identifying the legal grounds to win the case. Parisis's communication and delivery were highly articulate and precise. He is personable and makes you feel comfortable in the maze of legal jargon. Finally, his confidence, perseverance and masterful negotiation skills deliver the win. Anonymous
I had an excellent experience with this team! Thanks, Marjorie, Brittany, and Candy for your great support and prompt answers to all my questions. I highly recommend this firm. This team works very hard and I am extremely happy with the results. Ana