Under New York law, employers and state agencies that issue licenses cannot reject job-seekers simply because they have criminal convictions. Legally, job-seekers can only be rejected if there is a direct relationship between the conviction and the job or license being sought, or if hiring the applicant would pose an unreasonable risk to persons or property. As the Corrections Law states, employers must look at job-seekers as individuals.
Despite these legal guidelines, discrimination based on criminal records is not uncommon. This folder includes job-search guides, guidelines for specific fields, training resources, relevant laws and policies, and sample letters, briefs, and motions that address employment discrimination based on criminal records--including employment denials, terminations, suspensions, and illegal hiring.
» Read the "frequently asked questions" on reentry & employment from the People's Guide.
» For materials on how to obtain Certificates of Relief from Disability and Certificates of Good Conduct, use the Certificates of Rehabilitation subfolder in the Criminal Records folder of Reentry Net/NY.
» For extensive policy and legislation materials on employment and criminal records please see our New York State Legislation and Policy Folder and the Employment folder of our National Reentry Research and Policy Library on the National Reentry Net site.
» For referrals to employment programs and legal services visit the Links/Get Help page
Important Email Discussion Groups for Advocates for Employees
» New York Employment & Criminal Records Email Group: For advocates in New York State helping individuals with criminal records to obtain employment. For more information, click here.
» National Criminal Records Discussion Group: Reducing barriers to employment for people with conviction histories, with a focus on federal, state, and local policy reforms and strategies to enforce civil rights and consumer protection laws that apply to criminal background checks. To subscribe, click here.
Frequently Asked Questions: Reentry & Employment (The Bronx Defenders)
How to Gather Evidence of Rehabilitation (Legal Action Center)
Women, Re-entry and Everyday Life: Time to Work? (Women's Prison Association)
Litigating Civil Rights Claims and Employment Rejections for People with Criminal Records Under Title VII
Center for Employment Opportunities: Essential Practices for the Delivery of Effective Retention Services