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Criminal History Discrimination

Employment Attorneys Serving Workers in New York

Many people who live in New York have arrest or conviction histories. Unfortunately, some employers will use criminal records as grounds for denying jobs or mistreating employees in the workplace. Discrimination based on criminal history is unlawful, however, and people treated unfairly because of their past may be able to seek compensation for their losses. If you were subject to adverse treatment in the workplace because of your criminal past, you may be able to file claims against your employer. The New York criminal history discrimination lawyers at Gerstman Schwartz can aid you in the pursuit of the best legal outcome possible in your case.

Laws Barring Criminal History Discrimination

Under the New York State Human Rights Law (NYSHRL), it constitutes unlawful discrimination for anyone to deny a person employment because of a prior criminal conviction or on the grounds that the individual lacks good moral character due to a conviction of one or more offenses. There is an exception for instances in which there is a direct link between the crime and the employment sought or held, or when granting or continuing employment would present an unreasonable risk of harm to property, certain individuals, or the public.

Similarly, the New York City Human Rights Law (NYCHRL) provides that it is illegal for any employer to take an adverse action against an employee or deny a person employment because the individual was convicted of one or more crimes. It is also unlawful to base a finding of a lack of good moral character on a prior conviction of a criminal offense. A criminal history discrimination attorney in New York can help employees protect these rights.

The NYCHRL provides protections to people with arrest records as well. Specifically, it states that employers cannot question a potential employee regarding an accusation of a crime or an arrest record, deny an individual a job, or take an adverse employment action against a person based on an arrest or an accusation of a crime. As with the NYSHRL, there are exceptions for arrests or convictions that are related to the job in question, and in cases in which allowing a person with an arrest or conviction history to obtain or keep a job would pose an excessive danger of injury to people or property.

No federal statutes expressly prohibit employers from discriminating against employees or potential employees because of their criminal history. They cannot, however, use criminal history as a basis to discriminate against members of protected classes. For example, employers cannot treat people with similar criminal records unequally because of their national origin, race, gender, or any other protected characteristic. A New York criminal history discrimination attorney can help investigate these situations. Employers are also prohibited from employing practices or policies that screen people based on their criminal past if this would greatly disadvantage members of a certain class, and if such policies or practices do not aid them in determining if people are likely to be reliable and safe employees.

Pursuing Criminal History Discrimination Claims

People subjected to criminal history discrimination may be able to recover damages. Under the NYSHRL, a plaintiff alleging criminal history discrimination must show that he or she was qualified for the job in question but was denied the position, terminated, or otherwise treated adversely by the employer. The plaintiff also needs to prove that the evidence demonstrates that the negative act occurred under circumstances that would suggest that the plaintiff’s conviction history was the employer’s motivation for engaging in such behavior. Under the NYCHRL, though, a plaintiff does not need to demonstrate an adverse employment action but just that he or she was treated less favorably because of his or her criminal history.

Contact a Skillful Criminal History Discrimination Lawyer in New York

If you were treated adversely in the workplace because of your criminal past, you may be able to pursue a claim for damages. At Gerstman Schwartz, our skillful employment discrimination attorneys proudly help employees fight to protect their rights. We frequently help employees pursue discrimination lawsuits in New York City and Nassau and Suffolk Counties. You can contact us to schedule a meeting by calling our New York City office at (212) 227-7070 or our Garden City office at (516) 880-8170 or by accessing our online form.

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