Being convicted of a crime has far-reaching effects on your life, well beyond spending time behind bars. Not only does it inconvenience your family, but it also makes finding a job after your conviction far more difficult. Many employers conduct background checks prior to hiring employees, and even if your Denver criminal defense attorney
reduced the severity of the charges against you, you could still face a certain amount of discrimination during the job hunt. Before you apply for your first job after a conviction, it’s important that you understand your rights. Here’s what you need to know about pre-employment criminal background checks.
Employers Are Allowed to Ask About Your Record
On most applications, you’ll see a question asking if you’ve been convicted of a felony or misdemeanor. Though not necessarily a guarantee that you’ll get passed over for the job, it can influence an employer’s decision to hire you. However, it’s in your best interest to be honest about your record. If the employer asks for a criminal background check, your record will come up anyway.
If the case has been sealed, you’re free to respond to their questions as though the conviction never happened. Sealed cases will not show up on your record and the employer does not need to know what happened, unless you want to explain it to them.
You Have to Give Them Permission
Before any employer can run any kind of background check, they must notify you of the check in writing. They cannot perform the background check until you sign and date the request. Doing so would be a violation of the Fair Credit Reporting Act. Though you’re free not to give permission for the check, doing so could disqualify you from consideration for the position.
The Employer Cannot Legally Discriminate Based on a Record
Federal law prohibits employers from discriminating against an employee because they have a criminal record. However, though the law may say one thing, employers often do another. Unfortunately, a record could cause an employer to immediately think of you as irresponsible, untrustworthy, or other such association. Even if they do not believe they’re actively discriminating against you, the charges could lead them to favor another applicant. If you believe you’re being discriminated against, you can contact the Equal Employment Opportunity Commission
and file a complaint.
When in Doubt, be Honest
Though a criminal background check cannot be run without your consent, it’s still best to be honest with your prospective employer. If, after the background check, they ask about your record in an interview, state the facts. Explain what happened, what you were charged with, and answer their questions as honestly as possible. Just make sure to stand up for yourself—you’ve changed even if your record hasn’t and you deserve another chance to better yourself.
If you’re facing criminal charges, don’t take the risk of letting the Public Defender represent your case. Schedule a consultation with The Law Office of John L. Buckley, P.C. Our team understands that mistakes happen and we’ll make sure your case is represented fairly.