Can a financial institution fire an employee who refuses to prove that a past arrest from 10 years prior to being hired lead to a dismissal?

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Can a financial institution fire an employee who refuses to prove that a past arrest from 10 years prior to being hired lead to a dismissal?

Can a major financial institution that hired you require that you prove that an

arrest with charges for a misdemeanor from 10 or more years before the job was dismissed get a letter from a court stating there are no records tied to a case involving your name? Who is responsible for the costs if there are fees for

requesting this search and letter from the clerks office? Who is responsible for

the time should the employee be given paid time off to go to the clerks office to

collect this letter? What recourse is there for an employee if they are found to

be in violation of compliance and laid off for refusing to do extra work for

charges that were dismissed? Can the employee be fired for this? How is this

not violating the assumption of innocence until proven guilty? What are the

actual requirements for employees that they have to accommodate with respect to federal regulation exceptions to NYC law regarding arrest records when being hired?

Asked on August 19, 2018 under Employment Labor Law, New York

Answers:

SJZ, Member, New York Bar / FreeAdvice Contributing Attorney

Answered 3 years ago | Contributor

The only real question, unfortunately, is whether you have a still-in-effect (unexpired) written employment contract which protects you from termination in this way or for this reason. Barring such a contract, all employment in our nation is "employment at will": an employer may be terminated for any reason whatsoever, including a failure to provide requested clarification or documentation regarding a long-ago arrest. The simple fact is, an employee at will has no rights to a job, and therefore no right against being fired.
While it is true that there are a few reasons defined by statute (law) for which you cannot be fired, an arrest record is not one of them: you may be terminated due to your record if the employer chooses, which means if you don't satisfy them that you should not be terminated. You may also legally be terminated for not following employer instructions.
"Innocent until proven guilty" applies to criminal cases, not employment.
In keeping with employment at will--that you have no right to your job--the employer does not have to reimburse or compensate you for time taken off from work or other expenses incurred in trying to obtain the documentation they want.


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