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Can Employers Refuse To Hire You Because of Your Record?

January 7, 2021 Workplace Discrimination

The Criminal History Record Information Act Protects Your Rights

Under ideal circumstances, once you’ve been convicted for a crime and served your sentence, your punishment should be over. You should be able to go on to build a new life and contribute to society in a positive way.

However, for many people with a criminal record, it can be exceedingly difficult to find a job—long after they’ve paid the price for their crime.

In Pennsylvania, the Criminal History Record Information Act is designed to protect people with a criminal record from workplace and hiring discrimination. Here’s how it works.

It Limits How Employers May Base Their Decisions on Your Record

Under the Pennsylvania Criminal History Record Information Act, an employer generally can’t use your criminal record as a factor in deciding whether or not to hire you.

There are exceptions. The employer can consider your criminal record as a factor in hiring if your crime directly relates to the job you applied for. For instance, if your crime involved money laundering, a bank can legally decide not to hire you for that reason.

There are certain jobs and careers where your criminal history may legally bar you from employment. For instance, people with certain felony convictions can be barred from working with children, the elderly, or adults with special needs.

Licensure requirements may specifically prevent individuals with certain crimes on their record from working in the field as well. 

However, if the employer did use your criminal history as a reason not to hire you, they have to notify you of that in writing and explain their decision. This gives you a chance to bring litigation if you feel it’s necessary.

It Introduces Consequences for Discrimination

If you believe the employer violated the law in choosing not to hire you based on your record, you have the right to sue for damages.

Possible damages include a certain amount for each violation of the law, as well as punitive damages if the action is found to be purposeful. The employer may also be on the hook for your attorney’s fees and litigation costs.

What To Do if You Feel You Were Unlawfully Passed Over 

If you feel an employer unlawfully used your criminal history as a reason not to hire you, you have recourse in court.

Talk to a knowledgeable Pennsylvania employment lawyer. Your attorney can assess the situation, determine whether your rights were violated, and help get you compensation in court.

Call us at 267-273-1054 or email us at for a free, confidential consultation today.

The information provided here does not constitute legal advice. It is intended for general purposes only. If you have questions about a specific legal issue, you should speak to an attorney.