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Is Criminal History Discrimination Illegal in Pennsylvania?

January 23rd, 2023
Criminal History Discrimination

In the U.S., employers are allowed to inquire about an applicant’s criminal history during the hiring process, which can be disheartening for job seekers with a criminal past. Fortunately, this historical trend is shifting, and in Pennsylvania, there are laws that protect job applicants with a criminal history from unfair discrimination.

The Pennsylvania Human Relations Act (PHRA) is the main law that governs workplace discrimination in the state. The PHRA prohibits employers from discriminating against prospective employees based on their race, color, religious creed, ancestry, national origin, sex, or age. It also provides additional protections for those who have been convicted of certain crimes.

The Pennsylvania Criminal History Record Information Act (CHRIA) restricts an employer’s ability to use information found on a criminal background report for hiring. CHRIA limits an employer’s ability to use this information only as it relates to felony and misdemeanor convictions, not criminal charges. The conviction must also directly relate to the job. If a job applicant is rejected because of a criminal background check, the employer must notify the applicant in writing the reason for the rejection.

Under these Pennsylvania laws, employers may not discriminate against applicants solely because they have a criminal record unless it has some direct bearing on the job responsibilities of that particular position. Employers must also consider any mitigating circumstances surrounding an applicant’s conviction before making their decision. For example, if an applicant’s crime was committed many years ago and they have since proven themselves to be a productive member of society, then this should be taken into consideration when evaluating them as a potential employee.

Pennsylvania law provides strong protections for job applicants with a criminal history by prohibiting employers from discriminating against them unless it has some direct bearing on the position for which they are applying. While there is no guarantee that having a criminal record will not negatively impact your chances of getting hired, understanding your rights as an applicant is key to ensuring you are being treated fairly throughout the hiring process.

When a job applicant believes that they have been discriminated against due to their criminal record, they should contact a qualified lawyer. A lawyer can provide advice and assistance.

Delaware County Employment Lawyers at The Gold Law Firm P.C. Will Make Sure Your Rights Are Protected

If you have a criminal record, you may think that disqualifies you from many jobs. However, employers cannot discriminate against you for your criminal record, with certain exceptions. To learn more, speak with our Delaware County employment lawyers at The Gold Law Firm P.C. today. Contact us online or call us at 215-569-1999 to schedule your free consultation. Located in Philadelphia and Pennsauken, New Jersey, we proudly serve clients in South Jersey and Southeastern Pennsylvania, including Wilkes-Barre, Scranton, Northeast Philadelphia, Bucks County, Chester County, Delaware County, Lehigh County, and Montgomery County.

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