Under New York City law, employers are not permitted to perform criminal background checks until an individual receives a job offer. Employers are permitted to perform criminal background checks after making a job offer, but if the background check reveals information that causes the employer to take back the offer, employers are required to submit to a formal process. This process requires a holistic look at the candidate, which includes a write-up about why the job offer is being taken back. The laws allow employers to consider a wider range of applicants without bias and ensures that individuals with criminal records are given a fair chance to prove themselves. Having a criminal record can even impact you, if you’re looking to get a car lease, like in big cities like San Diego – where San Diego Car leases will be heavily scrutinized.
There are some questions that employers are not allowed to make at any stage of the process, including questions about arrests where there was no conviction and sealed convictions (for instance, for juvenile crimes or for convictions where drug treatment was ordered).
The difference between an arrest and a conviction is significant. For this reason, it is very important to seek the assistance of a criminal defense attorney if you’ve been charged with a crime.
While New York City has taken important steps to protect individuals with criminal backgrounds, many colleges and universities in the city, state, and country have not followed suit. According to the New York Times, the Obama administration is asking colleges and universities to reconsider how it handles individuals with criminal records, citing questions about records as barriers to higher education. Policy makers are urging colleges to save criminal background checks until after an applicant is offered admission.
Many argue that the focus on criminal background checks and behavioral issues marginalized black male youth who are more likely to face police scrutiny. The Common Application, the online application process that many colleges and universities use, is altering the wording of its criminal background history question to only include felony and misdemeanor charges. Yet, as it stands, the box remains. Some officials have suggested that the box may be removed altogether in 2017.
Some other solutions that have been suggested include offering individuals with criminal backgrounds more guidance on how to respond to criminal history questions, including offering sections where applicants can explain their past record and demonstrate their ability to perform in college or university.
The reality is that individuals with criminal histories face major barriers to employment and access to education. The difference between a criminal charge and a criminal conviction is vast. Being charged with a crime doesn’t give you a criminal record, while being convicted does. This is why it is important to seek the counsel of a criminal defense lawyer if you are facing charges. A criminal defense lawyer can review the circumstances of your arrest and any evidence gathered against you.
The Spodek Law Group, P.C. is a criminal defense attorney in New York City, who works closely with individuals being charged with crimes. Contact us today to protect your rights.