Devah Pager, a sociologist at Northwestern University, studied employers’ treatment of job applicants in Milwaukee, Wisconsin, by dividing job applicants into four groups. White applicants and black applicants were further grouped into those who presented themselves as having a prior criminal conviction and those who did not present themselves as having a criminal record. (None of the applicants actually had a criminal record of any sort). Except for the differences in race and in criminal record, applicants were given comparable resumes, sent to the same set of employers, and trained to behave similarly in the application process.
Data on criminal histories are widely disseminated by private sector agencies. [ citation needed ] It is difficult for a job applicant to prove that a prospective employer illegally discriminated against the applicant based on information on expunged convictions or dismissed charges. [ citation needed ] Mississippi does not erase an individual's criminal history, but rather replaces "Conviction" with "Dismissed in Furtherance of Justice" in the disposition. [ citation needed ] Some state justice systems do not allow arrestees to deny arrests for which the charges were dismissed, and some do not allow those whose charges were expunged to deny the conviction.