Legal and Illegal Employment Discrimination

KNOW YOUR RIGHTS:General overview of the law & your rights against illegal discrimination.

    An employer CAN run a background check on you.An employer CAN consider some parts of your criminal history and use it to deny you a job—so long as the denial would be allowed under the law.An employer CANNOT weigh your conviction history more heavily than another candidate’s similar conviction history because of your race, color, religion, sex, or national origin.An employer CANNOT deny employment to everyone with a criminal history.An employer, however, CAN justify a hiring policy against people with criminal histories if it shows the policy is “job related” and “consistent with business necessity.”[1966] An employer SHOULD evaluate your individual circumstances and consider: Facts and circumstances surrounding your offense;The number of convictions in your history;Your age at the time of conviction / release;If you have held the same type of job, post-conviction, without incidents;Your employment history before and after conviction;Your rehabilitation efforts;Employment or character references and any other information pointing to your fitness for the position; andWhether you are bonded.[1967]An employer SHOULD give you notice that you were denied employment because of your criminal history, and also give you a chance to show that it should make an exception for you based on your individual circumstances.
  1. 1966

    Hiring policies excluding people based on criminal history must consider at least three factors in order to be “job related” and “consistent with business necessity:” (1) the nature and gravity of the offense; (2) how much time has passed; and (3) the nature of the job sought. See Green v. Missouri Pac. R.R., 549 F.2d 1158 (8th Cir. 1977).

  2. 1967

    42 U.S.C. § 2000e et seq. See also EEOC, Enforcement Guidance on the Consideration of Arrest and Conviction Records in Employment Decisions Under Title VII of the Civil Rights Act of 1964 No. 915.002 (Apr. 25, 2012) (herein EEOC Enforcement Guidance).