Barring a few exceptions, employees and applicants with criminal records have the exact same rights as their peers who lack such a record. Sadly, many employers in Massachusetts tend to disregard the law that forbids them from making employment decisions based on workers' criminal records. While some might feel powerless to act, this type of workplace discrimination should not be tolerated.
Many employees remain unaware that it is actually illegal in Massachusetts for employers to deny employment to an applicant based on a misdemeanor offense that occurred five or more years in the past. Other applicants sometimes feel pressured in to giving potential employers information regarding expunged or a sealed offense, which is also not allowed. Even in the event that a criminal record might have a bearing on employment, employers are required to consider each and every applicant individually. For instance, rather than just considering the presence of a criminal record, potential employers are required to consider not only the charge, but the applicant's age at the time it was filed.
These requirements, some of which are outlined by the Equal Employment Opportunity Commission, are intended to protect employees from unfair discrimination in the workplace. Ultimately, it is expected that an employer evaluate a candidate's ability to perform a given job. Basing employment on how an employer personally feels about past criminal transgressions is neither ethical nor legal.
Most people with criminal records in Massachusetts simply want to move forward with their lives. When an employer's workplace discrimination prevents such individuals from achieving gainful employment, the outlook can understandably look bleak. We understand what a difficult time this is for many, and our understanding of the matter allows us to help guide our clients to the most successful end possible.