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Check state law before asking about convictions

by on
in Hiring,Human Resources

Q. Our employment application asks whether the candidate has been convicted of a felony. Is it legal for us to ask this? If so, can we ask what the applicant has been convicted of and can that information be used as a basis for not hiring an individual? —C.H., Arizona

A. Yes, it is legal in Arizona, as in most states, to ask about an applicant's conviction record. According to the Guide to Pre-Employment Inquiries Under the Arizona Civil Rights Act, employers may ask an applicant about felony and misdemeanor convictions. And if the applicant has been convicted, the employer can ask when, where and what the disposition of the case was.

However, if you ask about convictions, Arizona law requires a statement that conviction for a crime will not be an absolute bar to employment. Thus, outright rejection of applicants with criminal records would violate Arizona law.

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