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Can Employers Discriminate Based on Criminal Records in Kansas City?

Employment Law / March 2, 2022

Finding a job may be difficult when you have a criminal record. Knowing your rights as an employee and applicant in the state of Missouri, you can understand how employers view criminal records and if you are being discriminated against because of previous charges and convictions. Although there are no laws geared toward employer use of criminal records, laws prohibit discrimination in any professional or occupational licensing. An experienced employment attorney at Hollis Law Firm may help you when past criminal charges hinder you in your employment search.

What Is Discrimination?

Discrimination is the unjust or unfair treatment of a person because of their race, color, religion, gender, sexual orientation, disability, or other factors. Employment discrimination occurs when an employer treats an applicant or employee differently for any reason. Many states have laws against employers discriminating against applicants based on criminal records. Although Missouri does not have any laws for these matters, using criminal records to discriminate in any professional or occupational licensing is illegal. There are federal policies against discrimination in the workplace.

Title VII of the Civil Rights Act of 1964 protects job applicants and employees throughout all aspects of employment, including during a screening process. This federal protection helps job applicants regardless of which state they reside. Although employers may conduct background checks and review criminal record history to determine an applicant’s ability to fulfill a job, there are recommended ways for employers to consider this information when hiring.

Depending on the industry and job requirements, the criminal charges you have faced or have been convicted of can limit the kind of work you are permitted to do. Criminal backgrounds may disqualify an applicant based on the nature of the job, how long ago they committed a crime, what charges the individual faced, and their current standing. Along with these factors, the Equal Employment Opportunity Commission (EEOC) offers helpful information for employers using background checks as part of their screening process without falling into biased and discriminatory territory for their applicants.

Can My Employer View My Criminal Record in Missouri?

Employers have a right to request a background check for job applicants; however, the Fair Credit Reporting Act (FCRA) requires employers and firms that provide background checks to abide by specific rules when doing so. In order for an employer to initiate a background check in Missouri, they must:

  • Get the applicant’s signature and consent before performing a background check.
  • Notify the applicant if their background check will be used as part of the job screening process, and if so, they must give them a copy of the report.
  • Notify the applicant once a decision has been made and specify if the decision is based on the report.

In addition to employer responsibilities, firms and companies that provide the background checks must ensure that the information and reporting are accurate. If there is any discrepancy or error, the firm is obligated to notify the applicant and the companies given the report. When you feel you are being discriminated against based on inaccurate information, past criminal charges, and other factors, an employment attorney can guide you through evaluating your record and resolving the case.

Employment Laws and How an Attorney Can Help

According to statistics, the United States is the leader in incarceration, with an estimated one in three Americans having a criminal record. Around 87% of employers conduct a background check through their screening process, which is often pivotal when making hiring decisions. Many applicants face difficulty seeking employment due to past convictions and charges on their records.

Although there may be some employment limitations based on the nature of specific jobs and the need for a clean record, there are opportunities for employment for those who faced convictions in the past. An employment lawyer that understands the law and helps clients understand their rights can help you evaluate your record, guide you through terms of employment, determine your rightful pay, and protect your rights through legal advocacy.

Contact Kansas City Employment Attorneys at Hollis Law Firm for Professional Legal Representation

At Hollis Law Firm, our skilled employment attorneys are available to help you understand your rights. With our attorneys, you’ll have the proper legal representation and have an advocate to help you when you are mistreated during the employment process. Reach out to us by filling out our contact form or give us a call at (800) 701-3672 to schedule your free consultation.