I received an offer from a company and accepted. However, before it’s official, they are running a background check on me. I was a first time offender of a DUI misdemeanor last year, can they rescind the job offer based on this?

The job is an HR position that does not involve any driving.

Asked on August 24, 2018 under Employment Labor Law, Illinois


M.D., Member, California and New York Bar / FreeAdvice Contributing Attorney

Answered 2 years ago | Contributor

When a prospective employee fails a criminal background, there is no legal recourse if a job offer was rescinded based on that. The fact is that, most work relationships are "at will". This means that a company can set the conditions of employment much as it sees fit, absent some form of legally actionable discrimination (i.e. based on your race, religion, age (over 40), disability, nationality, gender, disability, etc.).

SJZ, Member, New York Bar / FreeAdvice Contributing Attorney

Answered 2 years ago | Contributor

Unfortunately, they can rescind a job offer for this reason, unless you already have a written employment contract for a set or defined period of time (e.g. a one-year contract) guarantying you the job. Without an employment contract, all employment is employment at will; under employment at will, an employer may refuse to hire someone for any reason not specifically prohibited by law (e.g. no refusing to hire based on race, color, national origin, religion, age 40 or over, sex, disability); there are no laws making it illegal to refuse to hire someone owing to a DUI, so they could refuse to hire for this reason.

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