Criminal Records and Employment

Millions of Americans - one in four adults - have arrest or conviction records that often follow them throughout their lives.  (See NELP report 65 Million "Need Not Apply").  Most employers now conduct criminal background checks, potentially derailing qualified workers who are rebuilding their lives or who have inaccurate records or minor offenses.  As a result, many employers are losing out on qualified workers in industries as diverse as trucking, health care and private security, where there are serious labor shortages.

Check out NELP's Fair Chance / Ban the Box Toolkit.

NELP has been a leader in the movement to restore fairness to the process of criminal background checks and remove unnecessary or badly-designed barriers to the employment of people with criminal records.  We promote model employment policies and basic protections that allow qualified workers with records to attain and retain quality jobs, in the following areas: 

See also our work in the area of Economic and Workforce Development, which can often be leveraged to increase employment opportunities for workers with criminal records. 

For more information on our work in this area, please contact Maurice Emsellem,