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Securing employment with a criminal record

December 05, 2020
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If you’ve been arrested or been found guilty of a misdemeanor, it’s bound to affect your future working life. While daunting, there may be ways for you to still secure lawful employment without stressing about your criminal record.

We spoke with Thomas C. Grajek, Attorney At Law, for some advice on how to approach such a challenge. This article offers some practical guidelines to follow so you don’t have to give up on your dreams of finding a job. 

Fair Play 

Any company doing background searches must comply with the Fair Credit Reporting Act, and they’re required to inform you of their intention, plus get your permission. 

They’re further obliged to inform you should they take action based on the information they found. They must also dispose of these reports containing personal information securely. 

Be Proactive

You can run a check on yourself before you submit a job application. This prepares you for what a potential new boss will find. 

It’s also an opportunity to pick up any errors or mismatched information. It could happen if there’s another person with a similar name, guilty of a crime. 

If you’ve got a criminal or arrest record and want to take action, you can seek legal help to have it sealed or expunged. It involves a legal process of a few months that may be worth the cost and effort to lawfully say you’ve got a clean slate. 

Should you go this route, be mindful that it can only keep certain offenses under wraps. You can also only do this once in your lifetime, so use it wisely. 

Arrested Versus Convicted

According to the Equal Employment Opportunity Commission in the US, potential employers may check for a criminal record before you are shortlisted, interviewed, or offered a position. There’s, however, an emphasis on fairness and responsibility on their side. 

They caution that an employer should be mindful of the difference between being taken into custody or detained and an actual conviction. An arrest record, without a guilty verdict, often leads to an inquiry only. 

A conviction shows that there was sufficient proof of criminal conduct. It’s potentially a bigger challenge. 

You should know up front that when you apply for a highly regulated position that a background check will definitely be done. It’s important that you’re prepared to clarify if you’ve been detained for a negligible wrongdoing, like disturbing the peace as a youngster versus something more serious.

Move Forward 

The best advice for when what’s in your past affects your future is to know what’s fair and share what’s true. If it comes down to digging up misconduct or a significant misstep, exercise your rights to keep your personal information protected.

Be prepared for what an employer will find, and you’ll soften the blow. Know that you can move forward and secure employment, even when there’s a transgression in your past.


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