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I was terminated due to my background, and I put it on my application is there anything I can do about it?

Glassboro, NJ |

I was hired at a local community college as a part time temp after 6 weeks of work I received a letter saying that I was terminated because of my background. When I applied I did say yes to the question have I been convicted of a felony. I don't see why they would hire me in the first place if I told them I don't see how this is right.

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Attorney answers 5


Unless you are represented by a union with a collective bargaining agreement in place that provides otherwise, or unless you have civil service-type protections to your position, your employer may lawfully terminate you for a felony in your background even if the employer previously hired you with knowledge of that prior offense. The law does not presume that the employer's needs and resources and business objectives will simply remain static over the course of time. What could be overlooked at the employer's option at one point in time does not bind the employer to accept at all points in time.

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Most likely-NO-unless you have an employment contract that protects you or represented by a union.
Very sorry-doesn't seem right.

The answer given does not imply that an attorney-client relationship has been established and your best course of action is to have legal representation in this matter.


Unfortunately, the aspect of your background to which you are referring is not a category for which the laws of NJ offer any protection against adverse hiring/firing decisions. Absent a showing that the reason for termination was for an impermissible reason, there is nothing else you can do.

You can check in with the Division on Civil Rights within 180 days after the alleged act of discrimination. Such a complaint can be filed at any of the four regional offices of the NJ Division of Civil Rights listed here:

There is a number for Camden which is the one you could try. Before doing so, I would recommend doing a little research at the NJ Division of Civil Rights website at As the other attorneys who responded (and I, too) have mentioned, your particular termination does not appear to be motivated by a legally impermissible basis, and it is doubtful that there is anything this or any other agency could do to help you. However, it is always good to know your rights.

Best of luck to you.


Your situation is a rising problem in the U.S where a number of people have been convicted for past charges, such as drug offenses committed in their youth and a record these offenses remain into adulthood despite a record of law abiding behavior since. According to one estimate, there are currently over 12 million felons in the United States, representing roughly 8% of the working-age population. The Equal Employment Opportunity Commission has interpreted the Civil Rights Act to require that, where an employment policy of a state, municipal, or private employer that discriminates against criminals will have a disparate racial impact, employers must show a business necessity before automatically disqualifying criminals. But, some statutes prohibit hiring criminals for certain types of jobs, such as health care or education, and forbid licensing boards from distributing licenses to criminals or require the boards to consider the applicant's moral character. Professions requiring licensing can include Emergency Medical Technicians and Paramedics, billiard room employees, attorneys, physicians, pharmacists, nurses, barbers, embalmers, septic tank cleaners, realtors, accountants, contractors, and sellers of alcoholic beverages. Such regulations sometimes result from lobbying by professional communities seeking to raise barriers to entry.
Therefore, unless race is a factor, there is little you can do to with regard to the temp position at the college. However, I do suggest that you contact an attorney in order to have your record expunged. You will not be required to disclose your criminal background for future employment prospects.
There is currently legislation pending in some states that make it illegal to terminate or refuse to hire based on a criminal background unless that criminal conviction may directly impact the employer's business. There is no such pending legislation in New Jersey.


Two articles regarding your issue below. While reading, keep in mind that the EEOC generally acts as an impediment and/or a barrier towards individuals who are trying to get their cases heard in Court.

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