Social Question

stovetop611's avatar

I was hired and then fired because of my criminal background, is that legal?

Asked by stovetop611 (10points) December 26th, 2010

The general manager hired me and told me to come in the next day to start training. The following day the GM called me before I left and told me that the District Manager didnt want me to work there because of my criminal background. Is that in the least little bit legal? The GM had already hired me and saw that I had done time but still hired me.

Observing members: 0 Composing members: 0

20 Answers

Berserker's avatar

People get fired/let go of/refused for plenty of retarded reasons that really has nothing to do with work ethics or needing to pay the rent keeper.
It really may depend, we need more detail…but in a lot of cases, it isn’t illegal. Employers can do a lot of things. You might wanna inquire about this to your city or town hall to see what’s acceptable in your state/province/whatever to see what’s legal and not as far as that’s concerned.

Although that employer should have been a tad wee bit more professional, and do his homework before taking any major decisions. :/

woodcutter's avatar

usually in the fine print on the app it will read somewhere they have the right to terminate for any reason. Check to see if you have any recourse with the company for an appeal of some kind. You never know, especially if you have some training for that job.

marinelife's avatar

Most employment, unless you are offered and sign a contract is “at will,” which means that you can be let go for any reason.


My thinking is that it is legal, but only if the job you were hired for requires a clean non-criminal history as a pre-requisite for the posting, such as employment in a bank or other securities-related professions, policing, teaching in schools, etc. If not, I’d question your employer’s decision and take steps to rectify the matter. But like some of the comments here, it could be legal if there’s a small clause somewhere that says they can let you go for “any reason”. Personally, I find such “reasoning” contentious and arguable.

perspicacious's avatar

If you are in an at-will state that was perfectly legal.

YARNLADY's avatar

Most companies operate under the at will doctrine which allows for firing for no reason at all. The wikipedia article explains it.

mammal's avatar

@YARNLADY not for discrimination though.

BarnacleBill's avatar

Federal discrimination laws make it illegal for employers to discriminate against employees and job applicants in any aspect of employment based on age, disability, national origin, race, religion, genetics or gender; criminal background is not a protected status.

LuckyGuy's avatar

In NY state it is illegal to discriminate unless the work has some connection to the crime, for example: sex offenders can’t be school teachers or child care professionals. Or, you cannot be unsupervised with money if you were found guilty of robbery or burglary. Your PO, if you have one, might be able to help you. There are also some charitable advocacy organizations that might be able to help.

For those that think we “molly coddle” ex-cons, answer this – How can we expect the ex-con to make it in society when extra roadblocks are thrown in their path?. Can they ever become productive? What alternative would yo suggest to reduce recidivism?

For those ex cons who think they should have a job just like anyone else, answer this – Why should employers hire you over laid off former employees or people just out of school without a criminal record? Which would you hire?

I don’t have a good answer. NY has a program that gives the employer an incentive to hire convicted felons. They will pay the employer about $2000 – $3000 per year for ex-con.
If your state has this program let the employer know . It is money in their pocket for taking the risk.
Good luck to you.

john65pennington's avatar

Your question is similiar to the question: “as a condition of employment, i agree to take a polygraph exam at any time, day or night and for any reason”. did you read the fine print on the papers you signed?

A friend of mine applied to Equifax for an investigators position. he was hired that day. but, two weeks later, a HR person called to advise that he was terminated. why? my friend had really bad credit and working Equifax, this was a no-no.

Most employers have liability waivers for new employees to sign, when hired. this protects the company and allows it to make decisions, such as your question,

Coloma's avatar

It seems to me that anyone that discloses being convicted of a felony cannot really be surprised if their criminal background gives them the boot.

People change, and I am a firm believer in second chances..but…would I hire a convicted pedophile to babysit my child…um, no!

You most certainly deserve a chance to prove your reform, but, can’t really blame an employer for not wanting to hire an embezzler as their head accountant. lol

Sorry..not to seem insensitive about your situation, however, there is truth to the saying that ’ the best predictor of future behavior is relevant past behavior.

Berserker's avatar

True that, in some cases. I mean, no one can read the mind of another, so we can’t know if they really changed or not. I would not hire a convicted pedophile to babysit my kid either. But I might hire a convicted thief as a security guard, if only because he’d have a hell of a lot more experience in spotting out thieves in stores, since he used to be one. But I’m not sure how legit such an observation might be, and even less, benefit of the doubt on the work force. :/

JLeslie's avatar

Depends where you live. Most states are “at will” as mentioned by someone above, and they can fire anyone for anything at any time, especially the southern states are at will. Even in states that are not at will, many allow a 90 day trial period, before you are technically consididered permanent. Sorry that happened to you, really sucks.

Coloma's avatar


Right, there might be hidden strengths in an ex- thief being a security gaurd, but there would be NO hidden strengths in an ex-pedophile that would make him better with children. lol

YARNLADY's avatar

@mammal It is illegal to fire someone for discrimination, but not illegal to fire them for no reason at all. If they believe the real reason is discrimination, they have to prove it.

Berserker's avatar

@Coloma I’m pretty sure I was agreeing with that.

Coloma's avatar


You were, I was agreeing with you back! Double agreement. haha

Berserker's avatar

Sorry. XD Now let’s go eat chicken.

Coloma's avatar

No chicken, I will die.
I just ate another 42 Peppermint Kisses. ;-/


An Employer can not Discriminate soley on your criminal history… First if you disclosed your criminal history on your application and your prior conviction is not directly link with the type of employment you are seeking it can not be the basis of termination… You should take some steps to preserve your rights… First contact the employer and ask for the reason of Termination in writing the law says the have to give you the reason in writing within 30 days from the day you request it… THERE are several LAW FIRMS dealing with this kind of discrimination as it affects a large range of people since 1 out of 3 american have been arrested or convicted of a crime in the country. Cantact this LAWYER (OUTTEN & GOLDEN LLP in NYC) see what they say you may have a legal discrimination Law Suit on your hands. Further let it be known the employer incase other can come forward!!! Let me know what happens Im in the process of doing the same I am waiting for a letter from a company as well… GD LUCK

Answer this question




to answer.
Your answer will be saved while you login or join.

Have a question? Ask Fluther!

What do you know more about?
Knowledge Networking @ Fluther