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Can an Employer Refuse to Hire Me Due to My Criminal History?

Can an Employer Refuse to Hire Me Due to My Criminal History?

Approximately 65 million Americans have a criminal record, and that can make finding gainful employment difficult. Research has shown that 92% of employers check a person’s criminal record before hiring them. Fortunately, individuals with criminal records do have some protections under the law when they are looking for employment. Below, our Ohio employment lawyer explains further.

The Fair Credit Reporting Act

The Fair Credit Reporting Act is a federal law that outlines requirements for employers when they wish to access someone’s criminal record. Employers are required to:

  • Obtain the consent of applicants before conducting a criminal background check,
  • Provide applicants with notice if they intend to disqualify them based on the results of the background check, 
  • Provide applicants with a copy of the background check, and
  • Provide notice to applicants after a final decision is made by the employer not to hire a candidate based on the information in the background check.

Companies that conduct background checks also have obligations under the law. They must reasonably ensure the information is updated and accurate. When someone disputes the information, the company must conduct an investigation. If it is found that there is incorrect information in the background check, they must inform the individual as well as anyone who was provided with a copy of the report.

Title VII

Under Title VII of the Civil Rights Act of 1964, employers are prohibited from discriminating against employees, including when making decisions about hiring. Arrest and conviction rates are much higher among Latinos and African Americans. As such, employers who adopt blanket policies that exclude any applicant with a criminal record may be in violation of the law. Even if that was not their intention, employers could still be held liable for racial discrimination in some cases. Employers must always ensure they are complying with the guidelines outlined by the Equal Employment Opportunity Commission to avoid liability.

Using Criminal Records Under Ohio Law

Under state law, employers are only allowed to ask about conviction records, as well as bail forfeitures, that have not been sealed or expunged. The only exception to this is when the matter directly and substantially relates to the employment position. If an employer does ask an employment candidate about a sealed or expunged record, the applicant has the right to answer as though the arrest and any other resulting legal proceedings had never happened.

Were Your Rights Violated? Our Employment Lawyers in Ohio Can Help

A criminal record can make it very difficult to find employment, even after you have paid your debt to society. At Marshall Forman & Schlein, our Ohio employment lawyers can help any time your rights are violated. If you believe an employer has refused to hire you or has terminated you based on your criminal record, we can help determine if those actions were illegal. If so, we can also help you make things right. Call us now or contact us online to schedule a consultation and learn more about how we can help.

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