Have you been denied a job, denied a promotion, or fired because of a prior arrest or conviction?
With more than 92% of employers using background checks in their hiring decisions, the U.S. Equal Employment Opportunity Commission (EEOC) is concerned that these criminal background checks are having an unfair and unlawful impact on minority applicants. The EEOC recently issued new guidelines acknowledging that:
- Studies predict that 1 in 3 black men and 1 in 6 Hispanic men will serve time in jail during their lifetimes, compared to 1 in 17 white men, according to the EEOC;
- It is illegal for employers to use criminal records to exclude individuals unless it is job related and they can show a business necessity for doing so.
- Employers with a “no-felons” policy may be committing unlawful discrimination if their policies disproportionately impact minority applicants;
- And, while it is permissible for employers to require applicants to provide criminal history information, employers are not permitted to discriminate based on race, ethnicity, color, national origin, religion, or sex.
If you have been denied a job, denied a promotion, or fired because of a prior arrest or conviction, you may be able to bring a legal claim against the employer.
What You Can Do If You Believe Your Rights Have Been Violated
- Save any documents related to the application process, including a copy of the application (if you have one) and any letters you received from the employer. Also save emails, text messages, Facebook messages, and any notes you made during the process.
- Provide the employer with information you would like them to consider. If your conviction was expunged, if you have a strong job history, if you have rehabilitated yourself, or if there is other information that you think should be considered, contact the employer and ask them to reconsider your application in light of that information. Keep copies of anything you send in writing, and make notes of your conversations.
- Act quickly. Statutes of limitations may limit your ability to bring claims, so it is important that you act quickly to preserve your rights. Consider contacting a lawyer as soon as an employer notifies you that your criminal background may cause you not to be hired.
CONTACT AN ATTORNEY: If you believe you were not hired because of an arrest or conviction, or would like more information about your rights, you can contact the Council on Crime and Justice Criminal Record Hotline Number at 612-353-3024 or contact an employment discrimination attorney at Nichols Kaster, PLLP for a free consultation via toll-free telephone at 877-448-0492.