Criminal records in employment

Legal Minute with the Law Office of Cooley Shrair

SPRINGFIELD, Mass. (Mass Appeal) –   Can employers review a job applicant’s criminal records? Attorney Shawn Willis from the Law Offices of Cooley Shrair in Springfield shared more.

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Criminal Records in Employment:

In 2010 Massachusetts became second state to enact what is commonly called “Ban the Box” legislation. That name refers to the very common section of job applications asking the applicant if they have ever been convicted of a crime. Usually, it asked you to “check the box”. Employers can no longer ask applicants about criminal history in the initial application. The purpose of course is to give applicants an opportunity to be selected for an interview based on their qualifications. However, employers can inquire about an applicant’s criminal history or conduct a background check after the candidate has been selected for an interview.

However, there are exceptions. Some employers are prohibited by state or federal laws from hiring people who have been convicted of certain types of offenses. For example, if you have been convicted of a violent or sexual crime, you would most likely be disqualified from direct care jobs such as health care, nursing homes and child care. Employers in those fields are allowed to prescreen applicants’ background.A violation of this law is considered unlawful employment discrimination, and you could file a complaint with the Massachusetts Commission against Discrimination.

About Cooley Shrair:

Cooley, Shrair P.C., founded in 1946 by Judge Sidney M. Cooley and Attorney Edward B. Cooley, is a progressive law firm located in Springfield, MA. Cooley Shrair provides unequaled service to its clients. Our unparalleled response time to our clients’ needs is the foundation of our mission statement.

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