Phillips & Associates

Long Island Criminal History Discrimination

Long Island Attorneys Advocating for Employees and Job Applicants

Long Island is made up of four counties, including Suffolk County and Nassau County. Suffolk County crime fell to an all-time low in 2016. Nassau County crime fell to its lowest level in 50 years, with major crimes like rape and murder falling 9%, in 2016. Unfortunately, however, the economy is hostile toward people who were formerly convicted or incarcerated. Many people who committed a single crime are not able to find work because they have a criminal record. Too often, misdemeanors perpetrated in youth are used to weed out employees without any consideration of their rehabilitation and qualifications. New York State has certain protections for people with a criminal history. If you were a victim of discrimination on this basis, you should consult the Long Island criminal history discrimination lawyers at Phillips & Associates.

Holding Employers Accountable for Criminal History Discrimination

Under the New York State Human Rights Law, there is protection against criminal history discrimination based on prior arrest records with favorable resolutions, sealed convictions, and youthful offender adjudications. There is also protection for people with prior criminal conviction records. Generally, there is no federal protection against criminal history discrimination, although in some cases, criminal history discrimination is also race discrimination, which is prohibited under Title VII.

Under Article 23-A of the New York State Correction Law, there are certain standards and factors that an employer must consider before refusing to hire you or taking an adverse employment action against you based on a conviction.

Specifically, before denying you employment or taking an adverse employment action against you because of your criminal history, an employer must be able to show either that there is a direct relationship between the criminal offense and the type of job at issue or that employing you would involve an unreasonable risk to welfare or property. When considering these standards, the employer needs to weigh certain factors: (1) New York's public policy encouraging employment of people who have been previously convicted, (2) particular obligations and duties related to the job, (3) whether the criminal offense has a bearing on the crime for which the person was convicted, (4) the time that has passed since the crime occurred, (5) the person's age at the time of the crime, (6) the severity of the crime, (7) any information that the applicant or someone else provides on their behalf about good conduct and rehabilitation after the crime, and (8) any legitimate interest of the employer in protecting welfare and property. If an employer fails to take these factors into account, a criminal history discrimination attorney can help Long Island job applicants hold them accountable.

Arrests and Accusations

Long Island employers are not allowed to make inquiries about arrests or criminal accusations of job applicants or employees when there is no arrest or accusation currently pending, or when the arrest or accusation was resolved in favor of the individual, resolved through a sealed conviction, or resolved with a youthful offender adjudication. It is illegal to require job applicants or employees to answer questions about arrests and accusations in those categories or to terminate or not promote them based on arrests and accusations in those categories.

In other words, your prospective employer is not allowed to ask "Have you ever been arrested?" It is also not allowed to ask if a criminal accusation has ever been filed against you. A Long Island criminal history discrimination attorney can help you bring a claim if this has happened to you. If the employer has dug around in your past, it cannot ask about youthful offender adjudications or sealed records. However, Long Island employers that are not in Queens or Brooklyn can ask about convictions that they find, or about any currently pending arrests and accusations. (Queens and Brooklyn are technically part of Long Island, and employers there are also subject to the Fair Chance Act, which provides greater protection to people with a criminal history.)

You are not protected as long as an arrest or criminal accusation stays pending. A prospective employer can refuse to hire you or terminate you based on the law or a collective bargaining agreement that applies. Your employer can ask you about it, as well as what led up to it, and how the matter is resolved in court.

If you are arrested while you are employed on Long Island, you are not terminated, and the arrest is terminated in your favor, results in a sealed conviction, or results in a youthful adjudication, you are once again protected against criminal history discrimination. The employer is not allowed to question you further or start an adverse action against you on this basis.

Seek Guidance From a Criminal History Discrimination Lawyer on Long Island

Our experienced Long Island attorneys are familiar with the forms that criminal history discrimination can take and can help you pursue remedies under the appropriate law. Call us at (516) 226-7329 or contact us via our online form for a free consultation.

PHILLIPS & ASSOCIATES
45 Broadway, #620,
New York NY, 10006
Tel: 646-362-6941
Fax: 212-901-2107
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