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What an employer may ask an applicant about criminal history.

Boston, MA |

My company recently was bought out, and we had to fill out a new application for employment. The application ask the usual questions that are "allowed" in massachusetts, but added "have you ever been on probation". I thought, according to MCAD, that that question would not be allowed. I have a CWOF with probation that was later dismissed. I was told by my lawyer at the time, this would not come up on an application in ma. I have said no, mainly because if I put yes, then they would know my past record. This happened 2 years ago and everything seems fine. If it is allowed on an application, I beleive it is skirting the protection that the state gives. Asking have you been on probation in the past is really no different than asking if you have been arrested.

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Attorney answers 2


you're right, they shouldn't be asking it. Some out of state companies are not familiar with Massachusetts law.


Without vouching for all of the contents, here is a general guide to how employers can deal with the question of criminal records: