Can an employernot hireyou for something that the job applicationstated would not effect employment?

UPDATED: Jul 15, 2010

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Can an employernot hireyou for something that the job applicationstated would not effect employment?

If you fill out a job application and it asks if you have ever been convicted of a felony and if you answer yes it will not effect the outcome of you getting the job, what happens if you do answer yes and they tell you that’s exactly the reason why you didn’t get the job? Isn’t that discrimination of some kind? I got hired on by Coke and told them and put on my application of a DUI i had 4 years ago and they hired me and I went for my drug test and everything and then they tell me that they can’t hire me cause of the DUI and they are not the only company. What can I do?

Asked on July 15, 2010 under Employment Labor Law, Florida


SJZ, Member, New York Bar / FreeAdvice Contributing Attorney

Answered 12 years ago | Contributor

Unfortunately, employment in the United States is everywhere employment at will, which means that employers may refuse to hire prospective employees for any reason whatsoever, as long as they are not discriminating against a protected category, such as against a race, religion, age over 40, sex, or disability status. If it's not a protected category, employers may legitimately base employment decisions on it. This includes conviction status--employers ask about  because they are allowed to take it into account. The unfortuantely fact is, not all forms of "discrimination" are illegal--only those specifically outlawed. If it's not protected by law, employers may base decisions on it.

That's the general rule. In your specific case, IF the application states that you will not be denied employment on the basis of that answer, but yet, that is why you were denied employment, it is not impossible that you might have a breach of contract claim against the prospective employer. If you feel strongly enough about the job, the prospective salary, or the situation, you might take a copy of the application and consult with an employment attorney. Good luck.

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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