Let us say you are applying for a position with a manufacturing company in Milwaukee. You are middle-aged and have a felony on your record because of three DUI convictions.
Could the potential employer decide against hiring you because of your age and criminal record?
The DUI and your job search
You are experienced with operating certain kinds of equipment, so the job with the manufacturing company is just what you have been looking for. You are aware that many employers perform background checks on job applicants and looking for work has not been easy for you. However, this company is known to give people with criminal records a chance and the recruiter was at least willing to meet with you face to face.
How the EEOC is involved
The Equal Employment Opportunity Commission has oversight over discriminatory practices. While the EEOC cannot prohibit the manufacturing company from accessing your conviction record, the agency wants to ensure that the information will not be used to discriminate against you in some way. For example, Title VII of the Civil Rights Act of 1964, prevents your potential employer from treating you differently than someone who has a criminal record similar to yours because that person is younger than you are.
The exclusions issue
There is also the exclusion matter. If people with a criminal record appear to be disproportionately excluded because of their race or national origin, the employer must show that such exclusions are “job related and consistent with business necessity” in line with Title VII, or face liability. The employer can prove this when screening applicants by considering the nature of the crime along with the amount of time that has elapsed. The applicant must also have a chance to explain why the employer should not exclude him or her.
Following the law
You are looking for a fresh start with a new company. If you feel that your job search is in jeopardy because of discrimination over your age and criminal record, remember you have legal options to pursue. Both state and federal employment laws are on your side.