This answer is written by AI. The information provided in this response is intended for general informational purposes only and should not be considered as legal advice. Do not rely solely on the information provided in this response for any legal decisions. Consult with a qualified legal professional before making any decisions.

Can a Job Offer Be Rescinded Based on Old Criminal Records in Michigan?

Question from Stephanie, Can a Job Offer Be Rescinded Based on Old Criminal Records in Michigan?

Answer from AI:

When you’re offered a job, it can feel like a huge relief and a step forward, especially if you’ve faced challenges such as having a criminal record. However, the excitement can quickly turn to confusion and disappointment if the offer is rescinded after a background check. In Michigan, the legality of rescinding a job offer based on criminal records that are several years old and not directly related to the job duties can be complex. It’s important to understand the general legal landscape, your rights, and when to seek legal advice.

Understanding the Basics

First, it’s crucial to note that laws regarding employment and criminal background checks can vary significantly by state and even by local jurisdictions within states. In general, employers have the right to conduct background checks and make employment decisions based on the results. However, there are legal protections in place to prevent discrimination and ensure fair hiring practices.

Federal Laws and Guidelines

At the federal level, the Fair Credit Reporting Act (FCRA) regulates how background checks must be conducted and how the information can be used by employers. The Equal Employment Opportunity Commission (EEOC) also provides guidelines to prevent discrimination against applicants with criminal records, emphasizing that decisions should be job-related and consistent with business necessity.

Michigan-Specific Regulations

In Michigan, there are no specific laws that prohibit employers from considering criminal records of any age. However, the state encourages employers to consider whether a conviction is directly related to the job duties and the time that has passed since the conviction. This approach aligns with the EEOC’s guidance but does not provide absolute protections for applicants.

Key Considerations for Your Situation:

  • Relevance of Convictions: You mentioned that the employer initially stated only theft convictions would disqualify you. If your criminal record does not include theft convictions, and especially if the misdemeanors are unrelated to the cashier position, this could be a point in your favor. However, the employer’s policies and the job’s specific requirements will play a significant role.
  • Age of Convictions: While there’s no strict cutoff in Michigan for considering older convictions, the relevance and impact of convictions generally diminish over time. Felonies over 7 years old and misdemeanors within the past 5 years may or may not be considered significant, depending on the employer’s policies and the nature of the job.

Steps You Can Take

  1. Review the Job Offer and Any Communications: Check any documents or communications from the employer for details about the background check process and criteria for disqualification.
  2. Request a Copy of the Background Check: Under the FCRA, you are entitled to a copy of the background check if it was used in a decision not to hire you. This can help you understand exactly what the employer saw.
  3. Discuss with the Employer: It may be beneficial to talk to the employer about your specific situation, especially if there was a misunderstanding about the types of convictions that would disqualify you.
  4. Seek Legal Advice: If you believe your offer was rescinded unjustly or in violation of federal or state guidelines, consulting with a legal professional who specializes in employment law can provide personalized advice and help you understand your options.


While employers in Michigan have considerable discretion in making employment decisions based on criminal records, there are guidelines and best practices designed to ensure fairness. If you believe your job offer was rescinded unfairly based on old or irrelevant criminal records, it may be worthwhile to explore your situation further, ideally with the assistance of a legal professional.

For more information on the Fair Credit Reporting Act, you can visit the Federal Trade Commission’s guide. Additionally, the EEOC’s guidelines on the consideration of arrest and conviction records in employment decisions provide helpful context.

Remember: This information is intended to provide a general overview and should not be construed as legal advice. For advice tailored to your specific situation, please consult a legal professional.

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