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Other Employee Rights - Criminal Record

Potential employers who inquire about an applicant’s criminal record, and base their hiring decision on the response, may be violating Title VII of the Civil Rights Act of 1964. The Equal Employment Opportunity Commission has stated that without a specifically-articulated business necessity, inquiry into arrests that did not end in a conviction is considered discrimination.

It also depends upon the employee’s state law, as to whether and to what extent the employer may consider the criminal record of an applicant in making hiring decisions. Some states prohibit employers from asking about arrests, convictions that occurred well in the past, juvenile crimes, or sealed records. Some states allow employers to consider convictions only if the crimes are relevant to the job. And some states allow employers to consider criminal history only for certain positions; for example, nurses, child-care workers, private detectives, and other jobs requiring licenses.

The employer's right to inquire about an applicant's conviction record is often subject to state law. If there is sufficient proof to establish successful rehabilitation, then the applicant might not be disqualified. However, the EEOC does not support the employee, if he/she gave falsified answers to questions regarding his/her conviction record.

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