Wisconsin Commission Finds Employers Cannot Consider Expunged Convictions
The Wisconsin Fair Employment Act prohibits employers from taking adverse employment action against an applicant or employee because of the individual's conviction record unless the conviction is "substantially related" to the position. Wisconsin law permits certain offenders who commit crimes before they reach the age of 25 to have their convictions expunged.
In Staten v. Holton Manor (January 30, 2018), an applicant applied for a job as a certified nursing assistant at a skilled nursing facility. She disclosed on her application that she had been convicted multiple times, but that one of the convictions had been expunged. When she was not hired, the individual filed a charge of discrimination alleging the employer had violated the Wisconsin Fair Employment Act.
The Wisconsin Labor and Industry Review Commission concluded that the employer could not rely on the expunged conviction when arguing that the individual's conviction record was substantially related to the job.