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Criminal convictions no longer bar to employment

In a huge step forward, New York's attorney general has announced an agreement that outlaws the automatic disqualification of a job candidate owing to a criminal conviction history. The historic agreement with industry giant Quest Diagnostics spells out an end to this form of employment discrimination that has made meaningless the rehabilitative efforts of many hundreds who have worked hard to show they are fit to reenter the workplace.

The victory is a significant one since Quest has approximately 200 locations in New York and employs approximately 42,000 employees worldwide. Under the settlement, the company agrees to follow laws prohibiting automatic job disqualification based solely on criminal history.

The following must now must be considered in the employment application process:

  • the nature and gravity of an applicant's criminal conviction and its bearing, if any, on any specific responsibilities of the job sought
  • the time that elapsed since the conviction
  • the age of the applicant at the time when the offense was committed
  • evidence of rehabilitation
    • Attorney General Schneiderman's office is committed to upholding these laws to ensure that all New Yorkers receive fair consideration in seeking employment.

      At the heart of the recent progress was an Attorney General's Office investigation that determined that Quest had automatically disqualified job applicants with a criminal history. The Attorney General's investigation found that some qualified applicants were rejected even when their prior convictions were years old and they had shown a clean record since.

      One analyst argued pointedly that hiring policies that discriminate against applicants with criminal convictions have a disproportionate impact on blacks. Due in large part to the war on drugs and its focus on poor urban neighborhoods, racial minorities are incarcerated at much higher rates than other groups and these hard facts produce consequences that can challenge their efforts to re-enter the job market.

      Employee discrimination attorneys can foster employees' rights to feel safe at work and free from bias and discrimination. If you feel you have experienced unlawful treatment at work, it is important to consult with a qualified employment law attorney.

      Source:  LongIslandExchange.com, "A.G. Schneiderman Announces Settlement With Fortune 500 Company to End Illegal Hiring Practices" No Author Given, May. 12, 2013

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