George F. Hildebrandt
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Seeking Employment After a Criminal Conviction

Having a criminal record can be a great barrier to obtaining gainful employment. People can be wary of hiring employees with criminal records because they do not find them trustworthy or because they are afraid that their customers would object if they knew that the employee had been in trouble with the law. Nevertheless, people with a criminal conviction should not be punished for the rest of their lives for past mistakes when they have already served their time.

There are protections under the New York Human Rights Law that prevent employers from discriminating against potential employees based on their past arrests. Employers are generally not allowed to ask a potential applicant about any past arrests that did not result in criminal convictions or about juvenile records. Employers cannot solicit this information on the employment application or during an interview. There are relatively few instances when inquiries about past arrests that did not result in criminal convictions can be made. Those occasions include, for example, pistol license applications and and applications for employment with law enforcement agencies.

For employment applicants or candidates with criminal convictions in their backgrounds, the New York Correction Law says employers cannot refuse to hire an applicant solely because he or she has a criminal conviction or because the criminal conviction shows that the applicant lacks good moral character. If the conviction is related to the job in question or there is a risk to the property or welfare of others, however, the employer can base a denial of employment on the criminal record.

Factors to Consider When an Applicant Has a Record

 

In determining whether or not the conviction should be a negative factor on an applicant's employment, the employer has to consider some factors:


  • It is New York's policy to encourage the employment of people with criminal records;

  • The duties and responsibilities of the job applied for by the applicant with a record;

  • How the criminal conviction may affect the person's ability to perform the duties of the job;

  • The time since the conviction;

  • The age of the applicant at the time of the conviction;

  • The seriousness of the crime;

  • Any evidence of the applicant's rehabilitation and good conduct;

  • The interests of the employer in protecting the general public; and

  • Any certificate of relief from disabilities or certificate of good conduct produced by the applicant.

Although employers may not legally discriminate against people with criminal records, they may still do so unofficially. If a person feels as though a potential employer denied employment based on their record, they can try to seek civil remedies against the employer. One of the first steps towards this would be to write to the employer and request that the employer provide the reason for denial of employment. Under the law, the employer has 30 days from receiving such a letter to respond.

Contact a Syracuse Criminal Defense Attorney


A criminal conviction can carry lifelong consequences. If you have been arrested, you need an experienced criminal defense attorney who can help you fight the charges against you. Contact experienced Syracuse criminal defense attorney George F. Hildebrandt for a consultation.

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