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Criminal History and Employment Discrimination

Our Tampa work discrimination lawyers are sometimes asked whether employers are allowed to discriminate against people on the basis of their having criminal histories. If you have been charged with a crime, arrested for one or have a conviction in your past, you may have encountered problems with finding work. While no federal law prohibits employers from rejecting your application because of your having a criminal history, you may still be able to fight such an action if you are of a protected class.

The EEOC, Criminal Histories and Racial Discrimination

While no federal law prohibits discrimination based on criminal history, the Equal Employment Opportunity Commission (EEOC) and several courts have ruled that negative employment action based on a person’s criminal record may be discrimination based on race. In those cases, the EEOC and the courts reasoned that some races are arrested and charged with crimes at a significantly higher rate than are Caucasian people. Therefore, denying applications based on criminal histories for members of particular racial groups may actually be discriminatory in nature.

Criminal Arrests Versus Criminal Convictions

While some jurisdictions prohibit employers from asking about arrests and allow them to only consider records of conviction, your Tampa employment attorney will explain that Florida provides very little protections for applicants with criminal records. As a consequence, employers are allowed to conduct criminal background checks and use both arrests and convictions to inform their hiring decisions.

Disparate Racial Impact of Criminal Records

The EEOC has detailed information regarding the disparate impact criminal records and their use for hiring purposes can have on members of minority races. The agency recommends that employers allow you the chance to explain your record, your arrest or your conviction. They are only supposed to consider your criminal history if it directly affects your ability to do the job for which you’ve applied. For example, if you have a theft conviction and have applied for a position in which you will be required to handle money, the law considers an inquiry into what happened by your potential employer to be permissible.

What to Do If You Believe You Have Faced Wrongful Discrimination

If you believe an employer wrongfully used your criminal history as a pretext to deny you a job but that it was actually because of your race, you may want to consult with an employment law attorney. An attorney may review the facts of what happened in order to determine whether it appears that you were the victim of racial discrimination. If it appears that is the case, your Tampa employment attorney may then help you with filing a complaint with the EEOC. Your attorney may also help you to draft and file the civil complaint that is required to commence your lawsuit. They may then advocate for you to recover damages to compensate you.

Contact Our Tampa Work Discrimination Lawyers

To speak with the Tampa work discrimination lawyers at Florin Gray, call (727) 254-5255.

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