In New York, most employers and agencies can only deny you a job or license because of your criminal conviction if there’s a direct connection between the work and the offense or if giving you the job or license would involve an unreasonable risk to people or property. Here’s what you should know to prevent wrongful discrimination.
Most employers and agencies in New York can only deny you a job or license because of your criminal conviction if:
To decide whether there is a direct relationship or unreasonable risk, employers and agencies must consider:
Provide evidence of your accomplishments and good character, such as:
If you have a Certificate of Relief from Disabilities or a Certificate of Good Conduct, employers and agencies must presume you are rehabilitated. To learn how to apply for a Certificate of Relief from Disabilities or a Certificate of Good Conduct, click here.
Call the Department of Health’s Criminal History Record Check (CHRC) Legal Review Unit at 518-408-1627. Ask the CHRC what documents their investigator wants you to provide and which conviction(s) the investigator is concerned about.
Within 30 days, respond to the letter in writing with a personal statement that explains the facts of the offense in a truthful and specific way and describes your remorse, accomplishments, and good character. Provide any documents requested by the CHRC investigator and any other evidence of your accomplishments and good character. See above for examples of this evidence.
For more information on the home health aide or certified nurse aide background check process, click here.
Some New York State cases can be “sealed.” It is illegal for most employers and licensing agencies to ask about or to discriminate against you because of the following types of cases:
The first four types of cases should be automatically sealed, but the courthouse often makes mistakes. To learn how to correct these mistakes, head here.
New York’s new sealing law may allow some of your New York State criminal convictions to be sealed if you meet all of the following requirements:
The FCA prohibits most employers and employment agencies in New York City from asking about or considering your pending arrest or conviction record until after they offer you a job, including on job applications or at interviews. Your refusal to respond to an illegal inquiry cannot disqualify you from employment. The FCA does not apply to jobs at law enforcement agencies, police officer or peace officer jobs, and some other jobs.
After you are offered a job, employers can ask about and consider your pending arrest and unsealed conviction record. Employers that want to withdraw the job offer because of your prior conviction must:
Employers must consider your response and cannot withdraw the job offer unless there is a direct relationship between the job and the conviction or you pose an unreasonable risk to people or property.
You should truthfully explain the facts of the offense and provide evidence of your accomplishments and good character. If there is an error on the background check, explain that there is an error.
If the employer or agency that discriminated against you is a government agency, file an Article 78 petition in state court within four months of the discrimination. If the employer is not a government agency, file a complaint with the New York City Commission on Human Rights within one year or file a lawsuit in court within three years of the discrimination.
Call our Access to Benefits helpline at 888-663-6880 Monday through Friday from 10:00 a.m. to 3:00 p.m. for help with:
The information in this document has been prepared by The Legal Aid Society for informational purposes only and is not legal advice. This information is not intended to create, and receipt of it does not constitute, an attorney-client relationship. You should not act upon any information without retaining professional legal counsel.
Last Updated: 11 June 2020
2023 The Legal Aid Society. All Rights Reserved