Bryan Cohen May 14, 2013, 5:35pm

NEW YORK (Legal Newsline) -- New York Attorney General Eric Schneiderman has settled with a medical diagnostic testing, information and services provider, ensuring that the company's hiring practices comply with New York state law.

Under the terms of the settlement with Quest Diagnostics, the company and all its subsidiaries will ensure that applicants for employment are not automatically disqualified based on prior criminal convictions or arrests and without considering mitigating factors.

"My office is committed to ensuring equal access to employment opportunities for New Yorkers across our state," Schneiderman said in a statement Thursday. "Those who have paid their debt to society deserve a fair chance to make an honest living.

"It's illegal under New York law to discriminate against job applicants based solely on their history of criminal conviction and, with this settlement, Quest has now agreed to needed reform to ensure its job applicants are treated fairly. The law is specifically designed to protect those who are otherwise qualified for the jobs they are applying for."

New York state law requires that employers consider multiple mitigating factors when making hiring decisions based on criminal history, including the gravity and nature of an applicant's criminal conviction and its bearing on job responsibilities, time elapsed since the conviction, the age of the applicant at the time the offense was committed, and evidence of rehabilitation.

The Attorney General's Office inquired into Quest's hiring practices after receiving a complaint from a prospective job applicant. The office found that some applicants were rejected for employment if they had a criminal history, regardless of qualifications, evidence of rehabilitation and when the convictions were years old.

As part of the agreement, Quest also will pay a $70,000 penalty to Schneiderman's office and provide periodic reports to the office to ensure legal compliance.

Quest has about 200 locations in the state of New York and employs about 42,000 people throughout the world.

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