If you or anyone you know has been denied a job because of a criminal record, read below
Posted on Thursday, August 13th, 2015 at 12:58 pm
If you, or a friend or loved one has been refused employment due to a prior criminal record, there is a remedy available in Pennsylvania, and the attorneys at Zavodnick, Zavodnick & Lasky, LLC have been aggressively pursuing such cases for many years. In Pennsylvania, an employer MAY NOT refuse to hire a job applicant based upon a prior criminal record UNLESS the prior convictions affect the applicant’s “suitability for employment in the position for which he has applied.” Additionally, arrests that did not result in a conviction may not be considered at all. Lastly, the employer must notify the job applicant in writing if the decision not to hire the applicant is due in whole or in part to the applicant’s prior criminal record.
We understand that laws written by legislators can be confusing. So what does this law mean? Basically, an employer could reasonably refuse to hire an individual with a prior conviction for theft if the individual has applied for a position as a cashier where he or she would have access to the employer’s cash. Similarly, an employer might reasonably refuse to hire someone with a conviction for assault if the individual has applied for a position as a bouncer. However, the employer cannot adopt a blanket policy of not hiring individuals with criminal records, as many employers unfortunately have done and gotten away with. The employer must carefully consider an applicant’s prior criminal record and make a determination regarding whether the prior record affects the individual’s ability to perform the job he or she is seeking. It should be noted that for certain jobs, such as those dealing with children and/or the elderly, there are separate laws that specifically preclude individuals with prior criminal convictions from obtaining employment in certain circumstances
Additionally, for those individuals applying for jobs in Philadelphia, the city passed an ordinance in 2011 that prohibits employers from asking about criminal convictions during the first job interview conducted. An employer who violates this ordinance is subject to a fine.
The only way to ensure that employers abandon these policies of refusing to hire individuals with prior criminal records is if those affected by such decisions aggressively pursue their rights and remedies against the employers. We have handled many such cases here at Zavodnick, Zavodnick & Lasky, LLC on a contingency basis, meaning that we do not get paid unless we win. As always, there is never a fee for the initial consultation. If you feel you have been treated unfairly in your pursuit of employment due to a criminal conviction or arrest, call today at (215) 875-7030 and ask for an appointment with Todd Lasky to find out about your rights.