Rejecting Applicant with a Felony Conviction: Illegal?

Jason Morris

March 28, 2008

Rejecting Applicant with a Felony Conviction: Illegal?

Do state and federal antibias laws protect employees or applicants who are convicted of a felony offense from discrimination? A federal court sitting in Pennsylvania recently considered that issue.

What happened. A man who had pled guilty in New York State in 2004 to one count of Attempted Dissemination of Indecent Material to a Minor in the First Degree (a felony) applied for a job at the Wal-Mart store in Wilkes-Barre in July 2007. Wal-Mart managers interviewed him and offered him a job as a cashier, pending the outcome of a background check and drug test. At some point during the interview or shortly thereafter, Wal-Mart told the applicant that he would not pass the background check because of his prior felony.

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Jason Morris

President & Chief Operating Officer at EmployeeScreenIQ
A veteran screening and risk management professional, Jason Morris founded EmployeeScreenIQ in 1999 and acts as the company’s chief operating officer and president. Morris is a frequent speaker delivering captivating, interactive discussions on background checks, global screening, recruitment and staffing. He educates audiences in best practice initiatives as they relate to organizational employment screening programs. Morris has been quoted in numerous business and industry publications including The Wall Street Journal, MSNBC.com, USA Today, New York Times, among others. He is also a licensed private investigator in the states of Ohio, Illinois, New Jersey, Texas, Arizona and Nevada.
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