POLICE DEPARTMENT CAN REFUSE EMPLOYMENT IN A CIVILIAN POSITION BASED SOLELY UPON THE APPLICANT’S CRIMINAL RECORD WITHOUT APPLYING THE HIRING CRITERIA GENERALLY REQUIRED BY THE CORRECTIONS LAW.
The First Department, as a matter of first impression, determined the police department (NYPD) could refuse to hire petitioner as a civilian police communication technician (PCT) solely because petitioner had a criminal record, without regard to the criteria set out in Corrections Law article 23-a. The Corrections Law, in an effort to support the hiring of persons with a criminal record, generally requires employers to determine whether an applicant’s criminal record has a direct relationship with the responsibilities of the job and/or whether employment of the applicant would pose an unreasonable risk to the public. The First Department concluded the Corrections Law excluded law enforcement from the reach of its hiring criteria:
Article 23-A broadly provides that employers, whether public or private, are prohibited from unfairly discriminating against persons previously convicted of one or more criminal offenses, unless after consideration of certain enumerated statutory factors, the employer determines that there is direct relationship between the offense(s) and the duties or responsibilities inherent in the license or employment sought or held by the individual, or such employment or license poses an unreasonable risk to the public, etc. (Correction Law §§ 752, 753). The statute defines the term “employment” as follows: “(5) Employment’ means any occupation, vocation or employment, or any form of vocational or educational training. Provided, however, that “employment” shall not, for the purposes of this article, include membership in any law enforcement agency” (Correction Law § 750 emphasis added). Matter of Belgrave v City of New York, 2016 NY Slip Op 01548, 1st Dept 3-3-16
EMPLOYMENT LAW (POLICE DEPARTMENT CAN REFUSE EMPLOYMENT IN A CIVILIAN POSITION SOLELY ON THE BASIS OF THE APPLICANT’S CRIMINAL RECORD)/CORRECTIONS LAW (POLICE DEPARTMENT CAN REFUSE EMPLOYMENT IN A CIVILIAN POSITION SOLELY ON THE BASIS OF THE APPLICANT’S CRIMINAL RECORD)/MUNICIPAL LAW (POLICE DEPARTMENT CAN REFUSE EMPLOYMENT IN A CIVILIAN POSITION SOLELY ON THE BASIS OF THE APPLICANT’S CRIMINAL RECORD)