New York is known as the nation’s melting pot, and as a whole, residents pride themselves on the city’s diversity. New York is also recognized as one of the leading cities in protecting job applicants against employment discrimination, based on a wide range of factors. One of the less known groups of people who are protected from New York employment discrimination are those with criminal histories.
The New York State Human Rights Law precludes an employer from basing an employment decision on previous arrests, reversed convictions, sealed convictions, juvenile adjudications, and even prior adult criminal convictions. It is important to note, however, that the level of protection varies depending on the group to which a prospective employee belongs.
Previous Arrests, Reversed Convictions, Sealed Convictions, and Juvenile Adjudications
A prospective employee with a record of any of the above is completely protected from having an employer base a hiring decision on these factors. Additionally, employers are not permitted to ask about previous arrests, reversed convictions, sealed convictions, or juvenile adjudications during the interview or even after a conditional job offer has been made. There are some exceptions; for example, a law enforcement agency can inquire about juvenile adjudications prior to making a hiring decision. However, the agency cannot inquire about sealed convictions.
New York is unique in that it also provides protection for those who have been convicted of previous misdemeanors or felonies. Unlike the previous category, however, employers are able to inquire about a prospective employee’s past job history. That being said, the New York Department of Labor suggests that an employer only inquire about previous convictions once a prospective job offer has been made.
Once an offer is made, the employer can then ask about past convictions, and, if the conviction would interfere with the applicant’s ability to perform the duties of the job or would create an unreasonable risk to safety or welfare, the employer can revoke the job offer. There is a lengthy list of factors that an employer must consider before relying on an applicant’s criminal history, and if properly challenged, the burden is on the employer to prove that their reliance on a permissible reason was genuine.
Importantly, New York law does not protect against an employer making a hiring decision based on a pending criminal case.
Have You Been a Victim of Illegal Discrimination?
If you believe that you have been denied the opportunity to work due to your criminal history, you may have been a victim of illegal discrimination. The dedicated New York employment discrimination attorneys at the law offices of Ira S. Newman have extensive experience handling all types of New York employment law cases, including those involving illegal discrimination. To learn more, and to speak with a dedicated New York employment law attorney about your case, call 800-206-7375 to schedule your free consultation today.
See Additional Blog Posts:
Teacher Fired for “Inappropriate” Comments Files Retaliation Lawsuit, New York Business Litigation Attorney Blog, December 12, 2017.
Housing Discrimination Is Illegal in New York City, New York Business Litigation Attorney Blog, November 27, 2017.