Nearly one in three U.S. adults - 70 million Americans - has a criminal record on file that may be reported on a routine background check. Having even a minor criminal record, such as a misdemeanor or even an arrest without a conviction, can present obstacles to employment. Communities of color are disproportionately affected.
We educate job seekers with criminal records about their legal rights to help them integrate into the workforce. Education includes relevant Ban the Box statutes, Human Rights laws, and federal laws―including Title VII and the Fair Credit Reporting Act. We also train prospective employees about their background screening report and how it may impact employment. We provide training with an aim toward opening pathways to employment for the justice-involved.
Cayuga Correctional Facility Class Participant
Tompkins County Jail Class Participant
Our toolkit outlines national and state-specific information on employment laws and criminal record remedies available in 48 states, District of Columbia, and Puerto Rico.
Steps to help getting a job.
CJEI's resources explain employment laws and rights related to a criminal record, covering federal, state, and local laws.
Records Assistance Project
The Cornell Project for Records Assistance (CPRA) is part of the remedy in the Gonzalez v Pritzker class action case against the US Census Bureau. CPRA provides education and training to Black and Latino individuals who applied for positions with the 2010 Census and were denied employment based on their unconfirmed criminal histories. CPRA works directly with people with criminal records to deliver individualized instruction based on residence and/or where the criminal record is located: information on the criminal record; accuracy of those records; opportunities for correction, sealing, expungement, pardons, certificates or other forms of remediation that are available to them; employment legal rights including Ban the Box, Human Rights laws, Fair Credit Reporting Act, and Title VII; and how to discuss their records with prospective employers.
CPRA is part of the Labor and Employment Law Program’s Criminal Justice and Employment Initiative within the Industrial and Labor Relations School at Cornell University.
Employers that Hire
According to New York Governor Cuomo's Work for Success Pledge, companies have signed the Work for Success Pledge, committing to consider qualified individuals with criminal convictions for employment.
The Society for Human Resource Management (SHRM) announced the Getting Talent Back to Work pledge, signaling a commitment from employers to provide job opportunities to qualified people with criminal records.
Obama's White House Fair Chance Pledge announced the Fair Chance Pledge, where over 100 organizations have made a commitment to promote fair chance hiring, eliminate barriers to reentry, and provide meaningful opportunities for all to succeed.