Discrimination Based on a New York Job Applicant’s Criminal History May Be Illegal

The New York State Human Rights Law protects many classes of people from various types of discrimination. One of the more unique aspects of New York’s anti-discrimination policy is the fact that it protects job applicants from being subject to discrimination based on their criminal history.

HandcuffsNew York has a general policy to “encourage the licensure and employment of persons previously convicted of one or more criminal offenses.” Thus, certain kinds of discrimination are prohibited by law. For example, someone cannot be subjected to discrimination based on an arrest record if that arrest did not result in a conviction. However, even in situations in which an applicant was convicted of a crime, the law may protect that applicant from discrimination as well.

New York discrimination law does not outright prohibit an employer from making a hiring decision based on an applicant’s criminal record. However, the employer must consult a list of considerations prior to doing so. For example, an employer should consider the following:

  • The bearing, if any, the previous offense has on the applicant’s ability to perform the duties of the position sought;
  • The time elapsed since the offense;
  • The age of the applicant at the time of the prior offense; and
  • The seriousness of the offense.

While state law prohibits an employer from taking action in some situations, the current state of the law does allow for employers to inquire about past convictions or pending arrests for which a final resolution has not yet been reached. That being said, a recent amendment to the New York City Human Rights Law prohibits employers from asking these questions in some situations.

According to a local news report, the New York City Commission on Human Rights recently announced that it is bringing charges against several New York employers who have allegedly been asking job applicants about their criminal histories in pre-employment interviews. Under the recent amendments to New York’s anti-discrimination law, employers may only inquire about an applicant’s criminal history after a conditional job offer has been made, thus reducing the chances of an employer making a hiring decision based on an applicant’s criminal history. These cases have only recently been filed, and no outcome is expected for several months.

Have You Been a Victim of Illegal Discrimination?

If you have recently been a victim of what you believe to have been illegal employment discrimination, you should discuss your case with a New York criminal history discrimination attorney immediately. The skilled New York employment discrimination attorneys at the law firm of Phillips & Associates have extensive experience upholding the rights of New York employers in a wide range of employment discrimination matters. Call 347-941-1524 to schedule a free consultation with a dedicated and experienced New York anti-discrimination attorney today. Calling is free, and we will not pressure you to pursue your case unless you decide it is the right option for you.

More Blog Posts:

New York City Announces Charges Against Numerous Businesses for Illegal Job Application Questions, New York Employment Attorney Blog, November 22, 2017

New York Court of Appeals Clarifies Criminal History Discrimination Under State Law, New York Employment Attorney Blog, December 11, 2017

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