Like most Americans, people with criminal records need to be employed to support themselves and their families. Unfortunately, a criminal record is a barrier to being hired for a job, or once hired, keeping the job. High unemployment rates make finding employment even more difficult for persons with criminal records.
This report outlines the impact of criminal records on employment opportunities in Pennsylvania. In Part I, we discuss the overall legal framework applicable to the employment of people with criminal records. In Part II, we list occupations in which criminal records must be considered and which legally prohibit employment of some people with criminal records. In Part III, we discuss legal rights and remedies in the employment context, which are derived from state law, race discrimination laws, and local “Ban the Box” ordinances like those in Philadelphia and Pittsburgh.
Some employment or licensing restrictions may also apply to individuals who have “founded” or “indicated” reports of child abuse. Although they are civil in nature, “indicated” reports of child abuse often carry some of the same employment consequences as criminal convictions, without the procedural safeguards afforded to persons charged with crimes. Child abuse report restrictions are discussed in the Appendix of this report.