Job hunting can be difficult for a person with a criminal record. There are federal and state protections that can make matters a little easier for these individuals.

In Kentucky, job applicants do not have to disclose any expunged records on their employment applications. However, the state does not prohibit employers from considering arrests and convictions as they make their employment decisions.

That said, there are still additional federal protections afforded potential employees that affect Kentucky business owners.

Fair Credit Reporting Act (FCRA)

The FCRA deals with inaccurate or incomplete records. Criminal background checks occasionally include errors, such as convictions that were expunged, misclassifications of crimes, incomplete information about a crime (such as charges being dropped), multiple listings of a single offense or records that do not actually belong to the applicant.

The FCRA obliges employers to do the following:

  • Get written consent from a job applicant before performing a background check
  • Inform the applicant if the results of the background check could negatively affect his or her chances of being hired, and provide the applicant a copy of the report
  • Inform the applicant if the decision not to consider the applicant was based on the results of the background check

The FCRA also requires all firms that perform background checks to take reasonable steps to ensure the information they provide is accurate and current.

Title VII of the Civil Rights Act

Title VII protects applicants and employees from discrimination. Employers may not, for example, make hiring or firing decisions on the basis of race, gender, sexual orientation, religion or other protected statuses.

This can occasionally tie in to the use of arrest and conviction records. Because arrest and incarceration rates are disproportionately higher for minorities, an employer with a policy of excluding any applicants with a criminal record could, in some cases, be accused of racial discrimination.

To learn more about how employers may and may not use criminal records in their hiring practices, contact an experienced Kentucky employment law attorney with Hemmer DeFrank Wessels, PLLC.