Phillips & Associates

Yonkers Criminal Conviction Discrimination

Employment Lawyers Protecting the Rights of Yonkers Residents

Yonkers is considered safer than 44% of American cities. The rate of violent crimes per year is about 1,000. The rate of property crimes per year is somewhat over 2,000. Unfortunately, people with criminal records are frequently excluded and disqualified from jobs. Some employers even try to screen out any employee with a criminal record, regardless of other skills and qualifications. There is no federal prohibition against criminal conviction discrimination. However, in an effort to improve this situation, the New York State Human Rights Law provides certain protections to job applicants and employees who have prior arrest records or convictions. If you believe that you have been mistreated by an employer or prospective employer for this reason, you should consult the Yonkers criminal conviction discrimination lawyers at Phillips & Associates.

Discrimination Against People with Criminal Convictions

Under the New York State Human Rights Law, it is not illegal for your prospective employer or current employer to ask about prior convictions. For example, if a job application asks if you have ever been convicted of a felony, you must answer honestly. If you do not, and you intentionally misrepresent yourself on your application, the employer may terminate you later for the falsity rather than for the conviction.

Protection for People with a Criminal History

An employer CANNOT outright deny you a job due to a criminal conviction or based on your criminal history. An employer is entitled to deny you employment if you have a conviction only in certain circumstances and after an analysis of certain factors. The employer needs to see if the conviction has a direct relationship to the employment, or if granting employment would result in unreasonable risks to the property, safety, or welfare of others.

To make a decision about employing someone with a criminal conviction, the employer is supposed to consider eight factors. These are (1) the specific job responsibilities, (2) the public policy to encourage employment of people with a criminal record, (3) the nature of the criminal offense, (4) how much time has passed between the conviction and the job decision, (5) the age of the offender, (6) how severe the crime was, (7) whether there is information about rehabilitation, and (8) the valid interests of protecting welfare, safety, and property. A criminal conviction discrimination attorney can advise Yonkers residents on how these factors may apply to their situation.

Discrimination Based on Arrest Records

Under the state law, it is also illegal for your employer or prospective employer to ask about any criminal arrest or accusation that is not currently pending against you. Arrests and accusations are treated differently from convictions. Employers and prospective employers are also prohibited from asking about a criminal accusation that was concluded in your favor, concluded through a sealed conviction, or concluded through youthful offender adjudication. If they ask and you refuse to answer, and they retaliate by firing you, you may have a basis to sue for damages.

If you received a youthful offender adjudication before November 1, 1991, you should be aware that your record may not actually be sealed. Judges before that date needed to specifically order the sealing. However, since November 1, 1991, a judge's indication of sealing in the disposition reporting system has triggered an automatic sealing.

Your employer cannot mandate that you tell it about any arrests or accusations that fall into the prohibited categories. Similarly, your interviewer cannot require you to answer questions about them. If this happens, a Yonkers criminal conviction discrimination attorney can help you take action. For example, if you are interviewing for a job in IT, it is illegal for your interviewer to ask you if you have ever been arrested. However, it is not illegal for that interviewer to ask if you have any criminal accusations or arrests that are pending.

Adverse Actions Based on Pending Criminal Proceedings

It is important to understand that you are not protected while an accusation or arrest is pending. If you voluntarily disclose the arrest, your employer can ask you about the circumstances leading to the arrest and what the final decision in court was. If you receive a criminal conviction, you can be terminated. For example, if you are arrested for shoplifting and tell your current employer, it is entitled to terminate you with or without asking questions. On the other hand, if you were arrested for shoplifting as a teenager and received a youthful offender adjudication, but five years later, your boss asks you about it and decides to fire you because he thinks that you are dishonest, you may have grounds for a wrongful termination lawsuit.

Discuss Your Options with a Criminal Conviction Discrimination Lawyer in Yonkers

At Phillips & Associates, our experienced attorneys help people who have faced criminal conviction discrimination in Yonkers. Contact us at (212) 248-7431 or through our online form to set up a free consultation. We also represent employees who have been affected by a hostile work environmentor other forms of misconduct on the job.

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