July 21, 2018
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NYC conference on Race, Criminal Records and Employment, Oct. 9 at Cornell



WHAT:    The Richard Netter Conference on Race, Criminal Records and Employment: Legal Practice and Social Science Research

WHEN:    Friday, Oct. 9, 8 a.m. – 5 p.m. followed by a reception

WHERE:   Cornell School of Industrial and Labor Relation's NYC Conference Center, 16 East 34th Street, 6th Floor, New York


NEW YORK, N.Y. – Legal and employment issues in the use of criminal records for hiring decisions will be discussed at the Richard Netter Conference on Race, Criminal Records and Employment: Legal Practice and Social Science Research, on Oct. 9 in New York City.

Renowned national experts and scholars from law and social science, community activists and policymakers will come together at this conference to confront an emerging legal issue—workplace discrimination resulting from criminal convictions—according to conference organizers Esta Bigler and Pamela Tolbert, from Cornell University’s School of Industrial and Labor Relations (ILR).

As laws vary state to state, a person with a criminal record can have difficulty with employment prospects and can be affected by issues such as getting a driver’s license or a license to practice a particular trade. Thus, conviction for a crime at age 17 or 18 can mean a life sentence of unemployment.

Race adds another layer of complexity to this issue. Research by Princeton University sociology professor Devah Pager, who will speak at the conference, has shown that employers are more likely to hire whites with criminal records than African-Americans without a record. The intersection of high unemployment rates for people with criminal records, high incarceration rates of minority men and practical concerns of employers will also be tackled at the conference. 

Topics of discussion at the conference include:

  • Research on recidivism and ex-offender risk assessment
  • Employment barriers and race discrimination
  • Background check availability and use
  • Military experience with ex-offenders
  • Equal Employment Opportunity Commission guidelines
  • Employer liability

For conference registration, agenda and information, visit <www.ilr.cornell.edu/law/events>.

Sponsored by ILR's Labor and Employment Law Program in collaboration with the Cornell Law School, the conference is named in Richard Netter's honor as the funding was provided by Netter, a 1939 graduate of Cornell's Arts and Sciences College and a 1941 graduate of Cornell Law School. Nettler, who died earlier this year, had a long-standing interest in human rights.

  • Esta Bigler, Esq., Director, Labor and Employment Law Program, Cornell University, ILR School
  • Pamela Tolbert, Professor and Chair, Department of Organizational Behavior, Cornell University, ILR School
  • Adam Klein, Esq., Partner, Outten and Golden
  • Bill Carr, Deputy Under Secretary of Defense (Military Personnel Policy), U.S. Department of Defense
  • Devah Pager, Associate Professor of Sociology, Princeton University
  • Mindy Tarlow, Executive Director, Center for Employment Opportunities
  • Judy Whiting, Esq., Senior Staff Attorney, Legal Action Center
  • Alfred Blumstein, J. Erik Jonsson University Professor of Urban Systems and Operations Research, Heinz College, Carnegie Mellon University
  • Shawn Bushway, Associate Professor, School of Criminal Justice, University at Albany, SUNY


Contact:   Sabina Lee

Phone:     (212) 340-2914

Cell:        (607) 227-3341

E-Mail:     SSL37@cornell.edu

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