New York - Statewide Laws

New York State has laws to make sure you are not wrongfully discriminated against when seeking employment or licensure.

New York State Human Rights Law, N.Y. Exec Law Section 296(16):

This law makes it illegal for public and private employers to ask you about sealed convictions or to refuse to hire or promote you because of a sealed record.

New York State Correction Law Article 23-A:

This law requires that employers and agencies perform an 8-step analysis before denying you a job or license based on your criminal record. This law applies if you:

  • Submitted an application for an occupational license or job with any public or private employer;
  • Were previously convicted of one or more criminal offenses in New York or in any other jurisdiction; and
  • Were convicted of one or more offenses prior to getting the license or job.

If you have a conviction history and apply for a job or an occupational license, the employer or agency must take into account the following factors when considering you for the job or license:

  1. New York State encourages the employment of people with criminal histories;
  2. The job-specific duties and responsibilities you need for the position;
  3. The impact that your criminal record has on your fitness or ability to perform the duties or responsibilities of the job;
  4. The amount of time that has passed since you were convicted of a criminal offense or offenses;
    • The employer must take into account how long it’s been since your last contact with the criminal justice system.
  5. Your age when the offense was committed;
  6. The seriousness of the offense(s);
  7. Whether or not you can provide someone who is willing to speak on your behalf and vouch for your rehabilitation or good conduct. The information provided should help the employer to understand who you are as a person now, rather than when you committed the offense.
    • Examples of this include: education or training, reference letters from community members and/or clergy, or letters from previous employers both pre-/post-conviction(s);
  8. The employer has the right to protect their property, and they can consider the impact that your employment has on the general welfare and safety of others when hiring.

Even with this law, there are some convictions that will disqualify you from some jobs or licenses.

Certificates of Relief from Civil Disabilities and Certificates of Good Conduct are proof of positive change for potential employers and agencies when applying for jobs or licenses.