May an employer ask about a job applicant's arrest record?

Author: Jessica Sussman

Some states limit the use of arrest records by prospective employers, especially where the arrest did not result in a conviction, but there is no federal law limiting preemployment inquires regarding arrests.

The Equal Employment Opportunity Commission (EEOC) has maintained, however, that automatically disqualifying applicants based on broad general questions about their arrests may violate Title VII of the Civil Rights Act because doing so may have a disparate impact on protected racial and ethnic groups.