Criminal background check on employment applications

Chapter 12: Criminal Background Checks

It's common for mistakes to show up on your record, as well, so you can be proactive and take care of them before red flags pop up for prospective employers. When completing your application, read the questions clearly and use good judgment as to what you do or do not disclose while remembering your rights.

If you have a history of an arrest or charge and you're certain that it's not on your record, then you might choose not to disclose it. At the same time, if the question is "Have you ever been arrested for a crime? If you do have a record of a conviction, then it's best to disclose and explain the incident instead of trying to hide it. It will likely come out in the background check and prevent you from being hired because you flat out lied on your application.

When you disclose it up front, it shows integrity and gives the employer the chance to consider the conviction as it relates to the job you'll be doing. If you have a DUI felony, for example, and you're not required to drive a company vehicle, then it likely shouldn't prevent you from being hired in many organizations, as long as you disclose it if requested to do so.

If you lied about it and it shows up on your record, then it will look bad and likely result in your not being hired. Again, mistakes happen. But if you've learned from them and moved on, then you deserve a second chance. It might take some time to find an employer that agrees, but it will happen, so be patient. Research demonstrates HR professionals are becoming increasingly open-minded about hiring candidates with prior convictions.

Best Practices When Considering Candidates with a Criminal Record

A survey of HR professionals, managers, and non-managers revealed that only 14 percent of professionals would be unwilling to hire someone with a prior conviction, and over half do not feel strongly that criminal history is a factor in hiring. And an overwhelming majority — over 60 percent — of companies surveyed have experience hiring someone with a criminal record. When it comes to completing your job application when you have any kind of criminal record, there are a few rules to follow: Use good judgment, know your rights, and double-check your record so you don't have any surprises come up during your background check.

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Let's stay in touch. Subscribe today to get job tips and career advice that will come in handy. By containing only three restrictions, the CCCA is among the least restrictive of these laws.

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The CCCA prohibits employers from:. In addition, H. Even this restriction is relatively mild, however. Most other ban-the-box laws require employers to wait until later in the application process to ask about criminal history. In fact, only three other jurisdictions—Connecticut, Massachusetts, and Westchester County New York —allow criminal history inquiries after the initial application. Some jurisdictions—e. Due to the broad array of timing restrictions, many national employers simply delay all criminal history inquiries until after the conditional offer of employment in order to maintain a uniform background check process.

Many other laws that ban the box contain a lengthy list of other restrictions on the criminal background check process.

Can Job Applications Ask About Criminal Records?

California is an example of a jurisdiction with particularly tough restrictions on criminal background checks. The laws in other jurisdictions, such as New York, Philadelphia, and Seattle, share many of these restrictions, as well as adding their own unique requirements. Notably, the CCCA does not preempt local jurisdictions from passing more stringent rules.

Background Checks

In addition, the following entities are explicitly covered by the law:. This definition likely means that an employer may be held responsible if it hires a recruiter or staffing company that does not comply with the Act. Further, the law does not provide an explicit geographical limitation. Like all other ban-the-box laws, the CCCA exempts positions for which a federal, state, or local law requires criminal history checks or prohibits the hiring of persons with specific criminal history.

Therefore, airline pilots, teachers, and other employees who are required by law to undergo a background check to qualify for a position may still be asked on an initial application about their criminal history. Some employers also will try to find out about your background by hiring someone to do a "background report" on you.

Two of the most common are credit reports and criminal background reports. Special rules apply when an employer gets a background report about you from a company in the business of compiling background information. First, the employer must ask for your written permission before getting the report.

What does a basic background check include?

You don't have to give your permission, but if you're applying for a job and you don't give your permission, the employer may reject your application. If an employer gets a background report on you without your permission, contact the FTC see below. Second, if the employer thinks it might not hire or retain you because of something in the report, it must give you a copy of the report and a "notice of rights" that tells you how to contact the company that made the report. This is because background reports sometimes say things about people that aren't accurate, and could even cost them jobs.

Background Checks

If you see a mistake in your background report, ask the background reporting company to fix it, and to send a copy of the corrected report to the employer. You also should tell the employer about the mistake. You can get your credit report and fix any mistakes before an employer sees it. To get your free credit report, visit www. You don't have to buy anything, or pay to fix mistakes. If there is something negative in your background, be prepared to explain it and why it shouldn't affect your ability to do the job.

Also, if the problem was caused by a medical condition, you can ask for a chance to show that you still can do the job. Sometimes it's legal for an employer not to hire you or to fire you because of information in your background, and sometimes it is illegal. An example of when it is illegal is when the employer has different background requirements depending on your race, national origin, color, sex, religion, disability, genetic information including family medical history , or older age 40 or older.

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