Employment Discrimination & Work Authorization

When someone is arrested, their ability to support themself and their family is immediately threatened. For many years in New York, the presumption of innocence lacked legal protections in the workplace. Therefore, many workers were fired for having an open criminal legal court case. Employers did not need to perform any individualized evaluation of the employee’s circumstances. In 2019, we and our allies won major employment protections which prevent court cases resolved with adjournments in contemplation of dismissal from being used against job applicants or current employees. In 2020, the New York City Council passed legislation offering additional protections for individuals with pending court cases and unsealed violations.

During the COVID-19 crisis, we have worked with other advocates to support immigrant workers who–though they hold the majority of jobs considered “essential”–face low pay and hazardous conditions. Once let go, they are excluded from the benefits and relief that, however inadequate, provide a lifeline to so many others.

Resources

Testimony

BDS Testimony on Employment Discrimination for those with Unsealed Violations or Pending Charges

Fact Sheet

Clean Slate Can't Wait Fact Sheet

Checklist

New York State Excluded Workers Fund FAQ & Checklist

An illustration of a person walking confidently through a door with a “Help Wanted” sign.

Tell Your Legislators to Support Clean Slate

Job applicants with a record are nearly half as likely to get a callback or a job offer. Demand that your legislators support Clean Slate legislation (S1553A/A6399) that will automatically clear a New Yorker’s criminal record once they become eligible.