Employers may require applicants to provide information about arrests, convictions or incarceration. In the majority of cases, employers may not automatically bar everyone with an arrest or conviction record from employment. If an employer is aware of a conviction or incarceration, that information should only bar someone from employment when the conviction is closely related to the job, after considering:
• The nature of the job,
• The nature and seriousness of the offense, and
• The length of time since it occurred.
Since an arrest alone does not necessarily mean that someone has committed a crime, an employer should not assume that someone who has been arrested, but not convicted, did in fact commit the offense. Instead, the employer should allow the person to explain the circumstances of the arrest. If it appears that he or she engaged in the alleged unlawful conduct, the employer should assess whether the conduct is closely enough related to the job to justify denial of employment.
For a practical review of the law related to hiring an ex-offender and strategies for employment, see the NYS Department of Labor’s The Prime Objective: A Guide to Preparing the Job Seeking Ex-Offender.
You may want to know (and correct) information that is available describing your conviction and incarceration, both in the media and as part of your criminal record.The Legal Action Center, a NYC-based organization that advocates for people with criminal records, provides a guide to understanding and correcting your criminal record titled “Your New York State Rap Sheet“. Press coverage can be searched online through web search engines and databases of local and national newspapers. Go to the library to access the databases. Use the resources below to request state and federal documents.