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State Attorney General Eric T. Schneiderman said he has reached a settlement with Quest Diagnostics to ensure job applicants are not automatically disqualified based on prior arrests or convictions and without considering mitigating factors, as required by state law.

Quest provides medical diagnostic testing, information and services. It has about 200 sites in New York State, including about 35 in Western New York. The New Jersey-based company will pay a $70,000 penalty and provide periodic reports to ensure compliance with the law, Schneiderman said.

Quest, in a statement, said it is “committed to complying with the laws and regulations governing our business, including state and federal employment law. We have fully cooperated with the attorney general’s investigation and reached a resolution aimed at providing the attorney general with objective evidence of our commitment to abide by New York State employment law regarding individuals with criminal-record histories.”

Schneiderman in a statement said his office launched an investigation after receiving a complaint from a job applicant and “reviewing other information.” He said the investigation determined Quest “had deemed ineligible or automatically disqualified job applicants with a criminal history.”

The probe found some applicants were turned down “regardless of their qualifications or experience in the field, even where the prior convictions were years old and the applicant had shown evidence of rehabilitation and a clean record since.”

State law requires employers to consider “mitigating factors” when making hiring decisions based on criminal history, including the nature and gravity of an applicant’s offense and how it might bear on any duties related to the job being sought. Employers must also consider the amount of time elapsed since the conviction, the age of the applicant at the time the offense was committed and evidence of rehabilitation.

email: mglynn@buffnews.com