Can I be fired due to a criminal history record if I was never asked about it at the time that I was hired?

UPDATED: Sep 29, 2022

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Can I be fired due to a criminal history record if I was never asked about it at the time that I was hired?

I was recently hired as a department manager for a retailer. I never filled an application or any type of paperwork. The entire interview process was done by phone. Never at any time did my background come up. I did sign an offer letter agreeing to salary, etc. I’ve worked at the store for a week. I was sent a link via email from a third party contractor who will do the background/credit/past employment check. I have a criminal background. My previous employer hired me knowing this and I had 6 good years there. Can my new employer terminate me? I move from out of sate for this position.

Asked on November 6, 2015 under Employment Labor Law, Missouri


SJZ, Member, New York Bar / FreeAdvice Contributing Attorney

Answered 7 years ago | Contributor

Yes, you may be terminated due to having a criminal record or history, even if it was never asked during your initial interviews. The law allows employers to generally terminate employees at any time, for any reason whatsoever (this is what "employement at will" means, and the prevailing law in the U.S. and in your state is employment at will) and for having a criminal history specifically, and there is no restriction on terminating someone due to some issue which was not brought up during interviewing or hiring.

IMPORTANT NOTICE: The Answer(s) provided above are for general information only. The attorney providing the answer was not serving as the attorney for the person submitting the question or in any attorney-client relationship with such person. Laws may vary from state to state, and sometimes change. Tiny variations in the facts, or a fact not set forth in a question, often can change a legal outcome or an attorney's conclusion. Although has verified the attorney was admitted to practice law in at least one jurisdiction, he or she may not be authorized to practice law in the jurisdiction referred to in the question, nor is he or she necessarily experienced in the area of the law involved. Unlike the information in the Answer(s) above, upon which you should NOT rely, for personal advice you can rely upon we suggest you retain an attorney to represent you.

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