Rights of Job Applicants

This article was produced by CLS, GHLA, NHLAA, and SLS.

Rights of Job Applicants

Click on a topic below to learn about your rights when applying for a job if:

If you have a criminal record…

Should I say I have a criminal record on my application?

Do not lie. But do not give more information than the question asks.


- If it asks if you have any felonies, and you only have misdemeanors, answer “No.”

- If it asks you to list any convictions during the last 10 years, don’t list convictions that happened more than 10 years ago.

- If you have to list your record to answer the question, also explain what you learned from your experience. And say how you have changed.

Where can I learn more about working with a criminal record?

Read our booklet, Is your criminal record keeping you from working?

If an employer wants you to take a drug test…

Can a potential employer make me take a drug test when I apply?

Yes. But first he or she must give you written notice. If the test is positive, you must have a second test to make sure the first test was accurate.

You have a right to get a copy of the test results and the employer can’t share your test results with anyone else.

If you have a disability…

Can an employer treat me differently because I have a disability?

A potential employer cannot:

- Ask you if you have a disability.

- Make you take a medical exam, unless they offer you the job. 

- Refuse to hire you unless they are unable to make reasonable changes so you can work there.

A potential employer can ask if you are able to perform job duties.

Do I have to tell my employer about my disability?

No. You do not have to talk about your disability at the interview or even after you’re hired. 

What if I need an employer to change something so I can do the job for which I am applying?

Tell the employer what you need changed and why. Unless what you ask for is not reasonable, the employer must change it.

What kinds of changes are “reasonable?”

Changes that would help you do (or apply for) your job are reasonable.  If the employer can prove that the changes would cause “extreme hardship,” the changes are not reasonable.

For example, reasonable changes include:

- Changing your schedule,

- Changing the equipment you use, like a chair or telephone, or

- Changing your duties.

The employer may also give you support so you can do your job, such as an interpreter or reader.

What if the employer refuses to make a reasonable change?

Call Statewide Legal Services if your employer (or a potential employer) says the change would cause extreme hardship.

Note: Your employer has the right to make a different change, as long as it works and it is a reasonable solution. Click here for more on the ADA.

What if I don’t get the job because of my disability?

If you are qualified for a job and have a disability, the law protects you against discrimination. Qualified means you can do the job, even if the employer needs to make reasonable changes in the workplace.

The law also protects you if the employer thinks of you as someone with a disability.

State law also protects you if you have a chronic health problem, even if it does not impact an important life activity.

If you think you have been treated unfairly, you should immediately file a complaint with the CT Commission on Human Rights and Opportunities (1-800-477-5737) and the U.S. Equal Employment Opportunities Commission (1-800-669-4000).  There are time limits, so file your complaint right away. You do not need a lawyer to file a complaint.

If you are pregnant …

Do I have to tell a potential employer if I am pregnant?

No. Your employer cannot ask you about your pregnancy unless it is directly related to your job.

Read our flyer Pregnancy and Work.

If you’re being discriminated against…

What if I don’t get hired because of discrimination?

If you believe you were not hired – or were fired – because of discrimination, you can file a complaint.

Your complaint must show that you were treated differently and unfairly because of your:

- Race, color, ancestry, national origin,

- Religion, marital status, sexual orientation

- Age, sex, gender identity or expression, or

- Pregnancy or disability (physical or mental)

Where do I file a complaint?

Contact the CT Commission on Human Rights and Opportunities (1-800-477-5737 or 1-860-541-3400) and the U.S. Equal Employment Opportunities Commission (1-800-669-4000). You do not need a lawyer to file a complaint.

Is there a deadline to file a complaint?

Yes. You have 180 days after the most recent discrimination to file your complaint.

Can I get help filing a discrimination complaint?

Yes. You can get help from the CT Commission on Human Rights and Opportunities (CHRO). To contact them:

Call: 1-860-541-3400 or 1-800-477-5737, or

Go to: http://www.ct.gov/chro/cwp/view.asp?a=2523&Q=315790

Or talk to a lawyer. 

This booklet was produced by the Legal Assistance Resource Center of Connecticut in cooperation with Connecticut Legal Services, Greater Hartford Legal Aid, New Haven Legal Assistance Association, and Statewide Legal Services. The information in this booklet is based on laws in Connecticut as of 10/2012. We hope that the information is helpful. It is not intended as legal advice for an individual situation. Please call Statewide Legal Services or contact an attorney for additional help.

For more information, contact:

Statewide Legal Services: 860-344-0380 (Central CT & Middletown) or 1-800-453-3320 (all other regions).

For people over 60, click here to get help from legal aid.

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