How can I find a job in my city with a criminal record

I have a few felonies on my record, I have returned to college, graduated, I volunteer at different location in the city. I have a family that depends on me. I have not been in trouble with the law in over 18 years. Why am I being told because of my record I can’t be hired?

Asked on February 22, 2016 under Employment Labor Law, Pennsylvania


SJZ, Member, New York Bar / FreeAdvice Contributing Attorney

Answered 4 years ago | Contributor

You're being told that because all employment is "employment at will" unless there is a specific law to the contrary--that is, the default or general rule is that an employer may choose whom to hire, and whom to not hire, for any reason which is not prohibited by law. While there are a few categories or characteristics upon which the law prohibits an employer from basing hiring decisions--the main ones are, you can't refuse to hire due to someone's race, sex, religion, age over 40, or disability--there is no protection for having a criminal record, even if you have paid your debt and been a good citizen since then; an employer is allowed to not hire you for this reason, no matter how unfair that is.

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