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You Are Here: Employment > Employment - Ex-Offenders and Employment

Click here to learn about cleaning up your rap sheet to help you find a job

Click here to learn about a Certificate to restore your rights and to help you find a job

Frequently Asked Questions about Employment After a Criminal Conviction

1. Can employers discriminate against me if I have a criminal record?

New York State law prohibits employers and employment licensing agencies from denying anyone a job or license (or discriminating in other ways) because of any arrest that did not result in a conviction.  New York State law only allows an employer to deny you a job because of your criminal record if the crime is directly related to the job or if the employer believes you would be a threat to public safety.

2. Can an employer ask about my criminal record?

New York State law makes it illegal for an employer to ask you about arrests that did not lead to conviction for a crime.  But, employers can ask about convictions.

3. If a job application asks if I have ever been convicted of a crime, should I tell the truth?

You should tell the truth.  Many employers run criminal background checks, meaning that they are probably going to find out if you have been convicted of a crime anyway.  If you lie (either by saying "no" or by leaving the question blank) and the employer finds out, the employer can refuse to hire or can fire you because you lied.

4. Can I get cases erased from my record?

No.  You cannot erase criminal record information in New York State.  You can seal information about any case that was dismissed or that was otherwise ended in your favor.

5. Is there anything I can do about my criminal convictions?

If you have a misdemeanor or felony conviction, it cannot be sealed, but you can apply for a Certificate of Relief from Disabilities or a Certificate for Good Conduct.  A Certificate restores some of the rights you may have lost as a result of your conviction.  You can find out how to apply for a certificate by scrolling to the top of the page and clicking on the sentence about the certificate.

Click here for information about applying for an occupational license in New York City