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New York Employment Lawyers Limit the Harm Caused by a Criminal History

Do not let a criminal record negatively impact your career

For decades, New York State has limited employers’ ability to make employment or termination decisions based solely on an applicant or employee’s criminal history. Recently, however, the state has made changes to the laws governing an employer’s ability to obtain a criminal history report for applicants and employees. These changes also impact the options an employer has after reviewing the results of a criminal background check. The New York employment law attorneys at Hepworth, Gershbaum & Roth, PLLC understand how difficult it can be to obtain gainful employment when dealing with a criminal record. Our knowledge of state and federal labor laws allows us to provide the advice you need to determine whether your criminal history has illegally been used against you during the hiring or termination process.

Can an employer deny my application or fire me because of my criminal history?

The existence of a criminal record is a stressor for many individuals looking to further their career. Fortunately, New York laws provide some protection for individuals with criminal histories. Under state law, an employer cannot refuse employment or terminate an employee solely because of a criminal record. There are exceptions to this rule, however, especially in cases in which the criminal history directly applies to the position in question. For example, an individual with a criminal history involving theft or robbery may be denied a position with money-handling responsibilities, such as a cashier or bank teller. Similarly, individuals with a history of DUI or other vehicular offenses may be denied employment as a courier or delivery driver. In any case, employers must take great care when considering the criminal history of a job applicant or current employee.

Under state and federal law, employers cannot:

  • Request a background check prior to an employment offer: In the past, employers had the option to conduct a check of an applicant’s criminal history at any point in the hiring process. Today, employers cannot request a criminal history review before an offer of employment has been made. In most cases, employment offers are made on a contingent basis, meaning that the information gathered during a background check may impact the continuance or terms of the offer.

  • Conduct their own criminal background checks: New York law requires employers to conduct criminal background checks through a third party. This means that an employer must hire a firm to conduct the criminal history review, and may not use any conviction information obtained internally during the hiring process.

  • Deny a copy of the report to the subject: Whenever an employer conducts a background check, the employer must offer the subject of the review the option to view the results. Failure to offer this option is a violation of state and federal law. This allows the applicant or employee to ensure that the results of the background investigation are accurate.

  • Share the results of the investigation: Under state law, an employer or potential employer cannot share any information gathered during a criminal background investigation. This protects the applicant or employee from unnecessary embarrassment or harm to their career options.

As the focus on second chances continues, the laws governing criminal background checks are likely to remain fluid. It is important, however, for employers to maintain an up-to-date knowledge of these laws to avoid legal issues stemming from a dispute.

Discuss your rights with one of our New York employment law attorneys during a free consultation

At Hepworth, Gershbaum & Roth, PLLC our New York employment lawyers are committed to helping clients protect their careers against the harm done by a criminal conviction. If you feel that your criminal history has been illegally used against you, we explore your legal options for resolving the matter. To schedule a free consultation with one of our New York employment lawyers, contact us online or call 212-545-1199 today.





Contact an employment law attorney in New York today for a free initial consultation and determine whether you have a case. For a free initial consultation, you can contact us online or by phone.

CALL US TODAY! 212-545-1199