Is it legal for a company to decide not to hire you because of a misdemeanor charge from five years ago?

UPDATED: Oct 1, 2022

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Is it legal for a company to decide not to hire you because of a misdemeanor charge from five years ago?

My husband went for an interview on
December 18,2018. They told him
orientation was on December 20,
2018 at 3pm. They called two hours
before orientation and said they
wasn’t going to hire him over a
misdemeanor charge from five years
ago. I’d like to know if that is
legal because it feels like the
discriminated against him.

Asked on December 20, 2018 under Employment Labor Law, Tennessee


SJZ, Member, New York Bar / FreeAdvice Contributing Attorney

Answered 3 years ago | Contributor

It is legal. Employers may refuse to hire someone for any reason not specifically prohibited by law (e.g. they cannot discriminate in hiring due to race, color, sex, religion, disability, national origin, or age 40 or over). There is no protection for having a criminal record--even one that is only a misdemeanor from years ago; the law allows employers to refuse to hire due to criminal records. Therefore, this was legal.

IMPORTANT NOTICE: The Answer(s) provided above are for general information only. The attorney providing the answer was not serving as the attorney for the person submitting the question or in any attorney-client relationship with such person. Laws may vary from state to state, and sometimes change. Tiny variations in the facts, or a fact not set forth in a question, often can change a legal outcome or an attorney's conclusion. Although has verified the attorney was admitted to practice law in at least one jurisdiction, he or she may not be authorized to practice law in the jurisdiction referred to in the question, nor is he or she necessarily experienced in the area of the law involved. Unlike the information in the Answer(s) above, upon which you should NOT rely, for personal advice you can rely upon we suggest you retain an attorney to represent you.

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