Can I be denied a job based on my past criminal history?

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Can I be denied a job based on my past criminal history?

Is it legal to be turned down when the felony has nothing to do with the job for which you interview for? Given offer then a week later they came back and denied the job. The kicker is I signed a 6 month lease base on me getting this job. I have been clean and free over 6 years. Is this legal?

Asked on July 30, 2011 Wisconsin

Answers:

M.T.G., Member, New York Bar / FreeAdvice Contributing Attorney

Answered 9 years ago | Contributor

The right of an employer to deny you a job based upon your past criminal record differs from state to state.  It is my understanding that in Wisconsin, an employer can only deny a candidate a position based on prior convictions if the convictions substantially relate to the position for which they are hired.  You say here that they are unrelated.  It may, then, be in your best interest to contact the state department of equal employment opportunity and discuss the matter in detail.  Some states - such as New Jersey - also require that an employer do some investigating in to the circumstances surrounding the conviction and consider various factors before they can deny you the position.  See if Wisconsin also has that requirement.  Good luck. 

M.T.G., Member, New York Bar / FreeAdvice Contributing Attorney

Answered 9 years ago | Contributor

The right of an employer to deny you a job based upon your past criminal record differs from state to state.  It is my understanding that in Wisconsin, an employer can only deny a candidate a position based on prior convictions if the convictions substantially relate to the position for which they are hired.  You say here that they are unrelated.  It may, then, be in your best interest to contact the state department of equal employment opportunity and discuss the matter in detail.  Some states - such as New Jersey - also require that an employer do some investigating in to the circumstances surrounding the conviction and consider various factors before they can deny you the position.  See if Wisconsin also has that requirement.  Good luck. 


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