How Criminal Charges Affect Employment

It can be hard to find stable employment if you have a criminal record. Employers may be hesitant to hire you or promote you; and when they have to lay someone off, it may feel like it’s always you. You’ve done your time. You’ve paid your fine. You’ve paid your debt to society. Why can’t you seem to catch a break?

It’s not an easy situation to deal with. But you’re not alone, and you do have options. You have rights and protections under the law, and one of the purposes of this article is to let you know about them. Depending on your circumstances, it may even be possible to get your criminal record expunged, in whole or in part.

You might have made some mistakes in the past, but you’re trying to get on the right path. We hope to be able to help you with that process.

Federal Protections

Federal law offers certain protections to convicted criminals, concerning the ability to seek and hold employment. Employers are generally not allowed to exclude all applicants with a criminal record. This is because Title VII of the Civil Rights Act of 1964 prohibits discrimination in hiring. Because arrest and incarceration rates are higher for some races than for others, an employer that excludes all applicants who have a criminal record could be guilty of race discrimination.

The Equal Employment Opportunity Commission (EEOC) offers the following guidelines for what employers must consider. In deciding to disqualify an applicant, they must consider the nature and seriousness of the criminal offense, the length of time that has passed since the sentence, and the nature of the job.

Under the Fair Credit Reporting Act (FCRA), employers who request criminal background checks must follow certain guidelines. They must get an applicant’s written consent. They must notify the applicant if he or she is being disqualified on the basis of the report. They must also notify the applicant when the final decision to disqualify is made.

Effects Vary by State

Every state has different laws concerning the use of criminal records and the responsibilities of employers. Some states have laws that favor the rights of employers, and some have laws that favor the rights of applicants.

If you are curious about what your specific protections are under the laws of your state, consult a local attorney. You will be able to find out more about your options, and you may be able to come up with a plan that will help you secure long-term employment in the near future.

Can You Get Your Records Expunged?

Expungement means the removal of an arrest or a criminal conviction from your record. Practices for expungement vary by state, so you should consult a local attorney if you are seriously thinking of pursuing a course of expungement.

In many states, the expungement process begins by filling out an application for expungement. This can be a fairly involved application, and in most states, expungement is a complicated process. The process of expungement is complex, lengthy, and never guaranteed. If you go into the process without legal help, you may end up spending a lot of time and effort, without success. That’s one reason why it’s important for you to talk to an attorney who has experience in this process.

However, if you have a good chance of getting your records expunged, it can be extremely worthwhile to do so. If you’re thinking of applying for expungement, talk to an experienced attorney now. It may be a major step toward getting on with a new career.

By Carman Fullerton, Kentucky
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AUTHOR: Dan Carman

Copyright Carman Fullerton

Disclaimer: Every effort has been made to ensure the accuracy of this publication at the time it was written. It is not intended to provide legal advice or suggest a guaranteed outcome as individual situations will differ and the law may have changed since publication. Readers considering legal action should consult with an experienced lawyer to understand current laws they may affect a case. For specific technical or legal advice on the information provided and related topics, please contact the author.

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