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P. Simmons
P. Simmons, Attorney
Category: Legal
Satisfied Customers: 26503
Experience:  16 yrs. of trial experience
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I am a childrens librarian/School Librarian. I have worked

Resolved Question:

I am a children's librarian/School Librarian. I have worked in schools and public libraries for many years. Recently I have been denied employment (after it was offered) because of a 30 year old felony conviction for writing NSF checks on my personal account. I was hired twice by one school system, and now they are denying me (plus I won awards with the school system). In one case, the criminal record wasn't even shared (isn't this a law that they have to share it under Fair Credit Reporting Act?). I have already submitted paperwork to North Carolina's Office of Administrative Hearings and was told they couldn't help me. I'm looking at EEOC now, and it appears that the age of my conviction, the crime, and whether it relates to the job is not being considered at all. Although, it looks like EEOC will only help those that are discriminated against by color. Ex. If I was black and had a criminal conviction I could get help, but because I'm white, I can't get help? This doesn't make sense. What's worse, this record would be buried, but the one school district in 1999 asked me to "prove" my conviction as nothing came up in a background check. Please help!
Submitted: 1 year ago.
Category: Legal
Expert:  P. Simmons replied 1 year ago.
Thanks for the chance to help. I am an attorney with over 12 years experience. Hopefully I can help you with your legal question.

I am sorry to have to bear bad news. The truth is that, for the most part employment discrimination, including discrimination based on prior criminal records, is legal...and common

For example, discrimination based on lack of education and prior work history is common. As is discrimination based on appearance.

What is not proper is "illegal discrimination". This is discrimination based on race, gender, age, marital status or any of the other protected status.

I understand your point

If I was black and had a criminal conviction I could get help, but because I'm white, I can't get help?


But the truth is, if you were black and had a conviction or you were white and had a conviction and the employer denied the application based on race (white or black) that would violate federal law. Period.

But if the employer denied based on the conviction, even a 30 year old conviction? Not a violation. At all.

So if you want to fight this, you would have to have some evidence that the denial was based on your race, gender or some other protected status. Otherwise, the employer can refuse to hire based on the conviction alone

Again, sorry to have to bear bad news

Let me know if you have more questions....happy to help if I can
Customer: replied 1 year ago.

What about EEOC's Title VII Disparate Impact Charges?

Expert:  P. Simmons replied 1 year ago.
It has to be tied to a protected status. If you can tie the disparate impact to a protected status, then you have a case. But impact alone is not enough. The disparate impact cases are used when an employer claims a legal basis for discrimination (like criminal record) and the applicant.

SO, for example, if there was a requirement for a high school diploma for a job, and the applicant did not have one, and can show the reason was based on their race. This leads to the test of

"if it has a disparate impact on a protected group and is not job related and consistent with business necessity"


I think you will have a stretch linking felony conviction to disparate impact.
Customer: replied 1 year ago.

In both cases, I was offered employment by the principal/asst. principal. In one case, I wasn't even given a copy of what they found on my background check, I was simply told that I wasn't hired because of the background check. Again, under the Fair Credit Law the school system was supposed to give me a copy of the background check for me to refute or corroborate. Right?

Expert:  P. Simmons replied 1 year ago.
If the decision was made based on your credit history? Yes. But if the decision was made based on your criminal history the fair credit reporting act will not apply.

Customer: replied 1 year ago.

I'm sorry, but I disagree with you. What if the charge was bogus?

Expert:  P. Simmons replied 1 year ago.
Ma'am you are free to disagree...Not my place to argue. I can tell you what the law provides, but not much more than that

If the charge was bogus, then the best way to proceed would be to apply to the governor for a pardon. If you can show that it was bogus, it may be the governor will remove it from your record with a pardon

P. Simmons, Attorney
Category: Legal
Satisfied Customers: 26503
Experience: 16 yrs. of trial experience
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