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Employment discrimination and criminal records

A New York resident seeking a new job typically wants to present the most positive information possible, and issues such as criminal history can be frustrating for individuals trying to make a fresh start. Concern about workplace discrimination against individuals with criminal records has led to many jurisdictions banning related questions on job applications. While the idea is that the lack of this information would potentially allow an affected applicant an unbiased review of qualifications, the reality is that employment decisions in this context could facilitate discrimination against other groups of individuals.

Statistics suggest that race discrimination may rise when criminal history information is not requested on an employment application. This is particularly evident among black and Hispanic workers. There tends to be a greater level of incarceration among these groups, and young men in them deal with a reduction in work opportunities in areas that have implemented restrictions on asking about criminal history on employment applications. The issue tends to be particularly pronounced in areas with smaller populations of these groups. At the same time, opportunities seem to increase for others in these populations based on gender, age and education.

Those applying for jobs might be surprised that protection from disclosing a criminal history could lead to other types of discrimination. It can also be difficult for such patterns to be recognized while these issues occur because of the amount of time and data needed to identify employment trends.

People who are concerned about possible work-related discrimination during their efforts to seek employment might have a hard time knowing how to investigate further. A lawyer could offer helpful advice and might recommend further communication with the human resources department.

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