How long can an employer legally refuse employment after a conviction?

UPDATED: Jan 5, 2011

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How long can an employer legally refuse employment after a conviction?

Our policy states that we can hire you even if you have a criminal conviction, as long as it’s been more than 10 years since conviction. If an applicant was convicted 10 years ago but has been serving a sentence in jail for the last 9.5 years for that conviction, is he eligible for hire according to our policy? Are there any laws on this type of situation for DC, MD and VA? Also, if an applicant or employee fails a drug screening, are there any laws stating how long this employee is ineligible for hire or rehire, or how long can we refuse employment?

Asked on January 5, 2011 under Employment Labor Law, Maryland


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

Answered 12 years ago | Contributor

You sound as if you have a particular set of facts that you need ironed out and I think that you may need to consult with an employment attorney in your area if you  are afraid of liability or if you want to cut all ties with someone in particular over these issues.  Now, as for the first part of your question, the way that you have written the question  it appears that your policy uses the date of conviction as the counting point, not date of release from prison. So should that person get out of jail then he is eligible for hire after the next 7 months have passed.  As for drug screening, each state and district has their own paws on drug screening and drug-free workplace environments.  The particulars on hire or rehire should be addressed to the attorney in your area.  Good luck. 

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