Helping Individuals with criminal records Reenter through Employment

Are Employers Permitted to Ask Applicants about Arrests on Job Applications?

Applications and interviews are two important vehicles employers use to decide whether or not to hire a job applicant. Employers use pre-employment inquiries to learn about the job applicant's education, skills, employment experience, and increasingly more, his or her criminal history.

A criminal record's effect on employment varies greatly from state to state. Some states prohibit or limit what employers are entitled to ask about a job applicant's criminal record. However, few states actually prohibit employers from obtaining, asking about, or considering arrests that did not lead to conviction. Moreover, mostly all of the states permit employers to ask about and consider convictions. Juvenile cases are usually treated with some exception.

Knowing the rights and obligations of job applicants who have criminal records will help these individuals prepare to answer pre-employment inquiries completely, directly, and honestly.

The table below summarizes relevant state laws pertaining to pre-employment inquiries about arrest records. Please keep in mind that the abbreviated format means that it may not reflect every nuance.

States

Can Employers Ask About or Consider Arrests That Did Not Lead to Conviction?



Alabama

Yes

Alaska

Yes

Arizona

Yes

Arkansas

Yes for private employers; No for both public employers and occupational licensing agencies

(Ark. Code Ann. §§ 17-1-103(c)(1) and (I).)

California

No

(Cal Labor § 432.7 (f)(1), (2); and Cal. Penal §13203).)

Colorado

Yes, except sealed records

(Colo. Rev. Stat. Ann. § 24-72-308(1)(f).)

Connecticut

No

(Conn. Gen. Stat. § 31-51i).)

Delaware

Yes

District of Columbia

Yes, except sealed records or when applying for government job, occupational license, or nominating commissions

D.C. Code § §16-803(m); 16-801(11)

Florida

Yes

Georgia

Yes

Hawaii

No

Haw. Rev. Stat. §§ 831-3.2(e) and 378-2.5

Idaho

Yes

Illinois

No

(775 Ill. Comp. Stat. 5/2-103).)

Indiana

Yes, except expunged records

IC 35-38-9-10(a)(6b)

Iowa

Yes

Kansas

Yes

Kentucky

Yes

Louisiana

Yes

Maine

Yes

Maryland

Yes

Massachusetts

No

Mass. Regs. Code tit. 804, §§ 3.01 and 3.02

Michigan

Yes, however occupational licensing agencies may not consider arrests not leading to conviction

Mich. Comp. Laws §§ 37.2205a(1) and 338.43(1)

Minnesota

Yes

Mississippi

Yes

Missouri

Yes

Montana

No, except for lawful affirmative action and record keeping purposes

(Mont. Admin. R. 24.9.1406(1) and (2) (h).)

Nebraska

Yes

Nevada

Yes

New Hampshire

Yes for private employers; No for public employers and occupational licensing agencies

(N.H.   Rev. Stat. Ann. § 21-l:51 and 332-A:1).)

New Jersey

Yes

New Mexico

Yes for private employers; No for both public employers and occupational licensing agencies

(N.M. Stat. Ann. §§ 28-2-2 and -3(b)(1).)

New York

No

(N.Y. Exec. Law §§ 296(16).)

North Carolina

Yes

North Dakota

Yes

Ohio

Yes, except sealed records

Oklahoma

Yes, except sealed records

Oregon

Yes

Pennsylvania

No

Rhode Island

No

(R.I. Gen. Laws §§ 28-5-6 (7) and -7 (7).)

South Carolina

Yes

South Dakota

Yes

Tennessee

Yes

Texas

Yes

Utah

No

(Utah Admin. R. 606-2-2(U) and (V).)

Vermont

Yes, except expunged and sealed records

(Vt. Stat. Ann. Tit. 13 § 7606 (b).)

Virginia

Yes

Washington

Yes

West Virginia

Yes

Wisconsin

No, unless required for bonding

(Wis. Stat. §§ 111.325; .335(1)(a) and .335(1)(b).)

Wyoming

Yes

 

 

 

Updated October 2013