Could drug and alcohol polices work against job applicants?

While the March jobs report showed promise in the improving economy, there are still scores of people unemployed who may not get the right opportunity at the right time. Indeed, timing is everything when it comes to finding the perfect job, but many times otherwise qualified candidates may be passed over because of their criminal pasts.

Of course, a person convicted of a violent felony will have a tough time getting a customer service job, just as a person convicted of theft or fraud will have difficulty getting hired for sales. But when it comes to drug and alcohol convictions, job applicants with these blemishes may be unfairly discriminated against. Essentially, blanket policies against applicants who have criminal histories could have a disparate impact that is prohibited by state and federal law. 

Questions about whether an applicant has been convicted of a crime are nothing new. After all, employers are entitled to know something about the applicant that will reveal whether he or she is trustworthy and qualified for the position. However, an arrest record or criminal record may not accurately describe the disposition of the case. For instance, an applicant may have pled guilty to a drunk driving offense simply to take advantage of a deferment program which ended up improving their life; but the plea itself has nothing to do with whether the applicant can perform the job.

If you feel as if you have been discriminated against because of a drug or alcohol conviction, an experienced employment law attorney can advise you of your rights and options. 

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