Is it against the law for employers to turn me down for a job if I have a felony which is more than 7 years old?

Asked on November 3, 2011 under Employment Labor Law, Kentucky

Answers:

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

Answered 9 years ago | Contributor

No. The majority of states allow employers to use criminal records in making hiring decisions. However, in such a situation, the employer must show that there was "business necessity" for making the decision not to hire. Specifically, there must be some showing that the employer's policy is reasonably related to the requirements of the job.

Th fact is that many employers conduct pre-employment background checks to protect themselves against negligent hiring lawsuits. Such hiring occurs when employer knew or should have known that an employee was dangerous or unfit for a particular position. If an employee harms another person while in the course of their job duties, then an employer can be held legally liable. 

Additionally, a criminal record may ban an person from employment in certain fields/professions. For example, a criminal record might bar a person from employment in a banks or the security field (especially if a gun is required to be carried and the prospective employee is a felon), or in certain fields that require working with work elderly adults, children, etc.

You did not supply too many details of your employment situation. If you think that your rights may have been violated you need to contact your state's department of labor and/or consult with an employment law attorney in your area.


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