Criminal Records & Employment – Know Your Rights, Empower Yourself.

Alotta Ada

Finding and/or keeping a job is a difficult task for most anyone these days. If someone has a criminal record, they may find it is even more difficult. The City Human Rights Law prohibits discrimination in hiring, firing, salary, promotions and other work-related issues based on conviction and arrest record. Despite this protection, many may encounter discrimination when disclosing the fact they have a record to a potential or current employer. If you have a criminal record, it’s important to know and understand your rights in this situation in order to improve your chances of finding and keeping employment, as well as to avoid being a victim of illegal discrimination.

The NYC Bar Association provides a very helpful resource about employment and criminal convictions.
Here are some of the questions addressed:
– May employers ask about your criminal convictions and arrests?
– Should you be truthful when answering these questions?
– Can an employer deny you a job or fire you because of your criminal record?
– Does the type of criminal offense on the record affect the job you can get?
– What can you do if you have experienced discrimination based upon your record?

It’s also important to know there are actions you can take to improve your employment image. For example, you can apply for a certificate that demonstrates rehabilitation. When you apply for a job or occupational license, this certificate will be honored by the employer as proof of “rehabilitation” – removing automatic bars that may have previously kept you from getting certain jobs or licenses. These certifications will also appear on your rap sheet alongside your convictions.

For answers to the above questions and information about these certificates and how to apply for them, visit “Do You Have a Criminal Conviction History?

Check out these other helpful, related resources:

Formerly Incarcerated? Learn about New York’s Work for Success program to help former inmates find employment and know their rights.

How to Get and Clean Up Your NY State Rap Sheet  – Click Here

Certificates to Demonstrate Rehabilitation: Why They are so Important and How to Get Them 


This post is brought to you by LawHelpNY intern Mattie Elese Hunt is a current senior at the University of Oklahoma studying criminal justice.