New York Criminal Background Discrimination Attorneys
Helping New Yorkers Secure a Second Chance
In the wake of an arrest or criminal conviction, you want nothing more than to move forward and keep living your life. However, any kind of criminal or arrest record can create an unfortunate stigma that may jeopardize your ability to secure future employment.
In 2015, New York City instituted the Fair Chance Act, a law designed to encourage the new employment of individuals with criminal records. The Fair Chance Act makes it unlawful to discriminate against an employee or prospective worker on the basis of their criminal record.
Many with criminal records nonetheless continue to experience inappropriate and unlawful treatment during their job search. Our New York criminal background discrimination lawyers at Schwartz Perry & Heller LLP have over 100 years of collective legal experience and can assist clients who believe their Fair Chance Act rights have been violated. If you have an arrest or criminal record that you believe is impeding your ability to secure employment, our team can help you understand your rights and hold bad actors accountable.
When Am I Required To Disclose My Criminal or Arrest Record in New York City?
Under the Fair Chance Act, New York City employers are not allowed to ask you about your criminal or arrest record until they have conditionally offered you a job. This means that an employer cannot at any point ask any questions about your record during the initial stages of the interview process. They also cannot advertise jobs that mandate a “clean record” or “no prior convictions.”
In other words, if you are asked about any prior arrests or criminal convictions during an interview, your rights have been violated. You should immediately consider seeking legal representation if you are asked inappropriate questions about your record during any hiring process, as you are likely the victim of unlawful criminal background discrimination.
New York City employers can only ask you about your criminal or arrest record after they have made a conditional offer of employment. At that point, a prospective employer is permitted to ask about any prior misdemeanor or felony convictions. You are required to answer these questions truthfully. You may also be required to submit to a background check as a condition of employment.
In most situations, employers cannot ask about sealed records, arrests that were resolved in your favor, or youthful offender adjudications, even after a conditional offer of employment has been made. These elements cannot factor into an employment decision. You are not required to answer unlawful questions about these matters, and your answers (or refusal to answer) cannot be used in making a final employment decision.
Can a New York City Employer Withdraw an Employment Offer If I Have a Criminal Record?
An employer does not necessarily have the right to withdraw or rescind a conditional offer of employment should they learn that the prospective employee has a criminal record. Employers are required to follow a strict series of steps to weigh whether hiring the employee constitutes an unnecessary risk to their business.
A New York City employer may only rescind a conditional offer of employment if one of the following conditions is met:
- The employer can establish a direct relationship between the nature of the prospective employee’s criminal record and the type of position being sought
- The employer can demonstrate that hiring the employee with a criminal record would represent an unreasonable risk to their property or the safety of others
If an employer believes that they have met one of the qualifying conditions and plans to rescind their offer of employment, they must follow several specific steps. First, they must provide a copy of any background check they conducted on your criminal background. Second, they will need to provide a written explanation of the factors they considered and how they arrived at their decision to withdraw the offer of employment. Finally, they must not hire another candidate for a minimum of 3 days after informing you of their decision. This gives you a chance to formally respond.
Should you be informed that an offering of employment is being revoked as a result of your criminal record, immediately seek legal assistance. Our New York criminal background discrimination attorneys at Schwartz Perry & Heller LLP can help you respond to a rescinded offer and will ensure your rights have not been violated.
If you were discriminated against at any point during the interviewing process as a result of your criminal background, we can explore the legal options available to you. Our team is made up of experienced litigators who are committed to helping individuals with criminal records enforce their rights.
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