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Finding work for residents with a criminal past

Last updated: 5/13/16

Finding work for residents with a criminal past

Companies working with the City of Boston must meet certain standards when checking someone’s criminal record. We make sure companies give residents with a criminal past a fair chance of getting hired.

The Criminal Offender Record Information ordinance applies to all companies working with the City. The rules make sure people with criminal pasts aren't discriminated against when applying for work.


It’s a background check that an employer uses to see if a potential worker has a criminal history. The standard report won’t include a person’s juvenile record, but it will include:

  • misdemeanor convictions within the past five years
  • felony convictions within the past ten years
  • certain convictions — like murder or sex offenses — that stay on a person’s record forever, and
  • any cases still pending.

Some organizations, like schools, can look deeper into your criminal record. Learn about who can see older information.


The City only works with companies who follow our rules for checking a person’s criminal background. We work to make sure they don't discriminate against people based on protected or incorrect information. For example, an employer must show you your record before they can ask you questions about it. Learn who can see your record and how it can be used.

Still have questions? Contact:
Fair Housing and Equity
1 City Hall Square
Room 966
Boston, MA 02201-2041
United States
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