Felony Conviction Renders Employee Unqualified, Discrimination Claims Dismissed, New Jersey District Court Rules

Author:Mr Evan Shenkman and Ryan T. Warden
Profession:Ogletree, Deakins, Nash, Smoak & Stewart

In Saunders v. Apothaker Associates, Inc., a Muslim applicant was offered a position as a debt collector, contingent upon his criminal background check. Civ. No. 10-3170 (D.N.J. Apr. 17, 2012). Two days after the plaintiff started working, he was terminated when the background check arrived, revealing a felony retail theft conviction and a failure to repay $12,000 in court-ordered restitution. The plaintiff, who wore traditional Muslim attire at work, claimed that he had been terminated due to his religion in violation of Title VII and the NJLAD. Granting summary judgment for the employer, the court held that the plaintiff could not prove...

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