Fair Employment Opportunities Project

Pennsylvania law seeks to address this pressing social and economic issue. The Criminal History Record Information Act (CHRIA) provides that employers may only consider an applicant’s criminal history to the extent that it directly relates to the applicant’s suitability for a particular position. Arrests that do not lead to convictions may not be considered at all. To date, this law has gone virtually unused as a tool for addressing discrimination and little case law exists to increase enforcement of the law.

The Fair Employment Opportunities Project uniquely responds to this employment crisis in three complementary ways:

  • Corporate Champions: partner with local companies to develop and implement best practices for hiring and showcase corporate partners who have elected appropriate and legal hiring practices
  • Litigation: collaborate with non-profits and pro bono attorneys to represent victims under current state laws and increase relevant case law favorable to individuals with criminal backgrounds who are seeking employment
  • Public Education: execute a public education campaign to debunk myths and increase public knowledge of the issue

The Fair Employment Opportunities Project is a partnership effort with Philadelphia Lawyers for Social Equity. This work was originally supported by the Patricia Kind Family Foundation.

Project Updates

March 2019
Highly qualified job applicant files suit against Montgomery County after being denied employment due to her old, irrelevant criminal record

April 2017
Laws Governing Criminal Record Inquiries in Employment

April 2016
SEPTA Background Checks Violate Federal and State Laws

February 2016
Major Healthcare Company Genesis Sued for Discriminating Against Prospective Employee with Unrelated Criminal History

August 2015
Employee with Criminal History Settles Employment Discrimination Case

March 2014
Sunoco Lends Support to Fair, Legal Use of Criminal Background Checks