There are multiple factors that might damper your ability to find a job: the economic climate, the rate of growth or lack thereof within the specific industry in which you’re hoping to get a job, and your qualifications are but just a few things an employer will consider.
With the job market being more competitive than ever, it can be quite difficult landing a job, and having a criminal record makes it only that much more difficult. Employers typically will do a criminal background check on any prospective candidate that they’re looking to hire.
While the Fair Credit Reporting Act states that employers cannot automatically disqualify a candidate for employment just because they have a criminal record, the EEOC states that an employer is allowed against offering a job to a candidate with a criminal background if the nature of the job conflicts with the nature, seriousness and recency of their offense.
Know Your Rights
Prior to starting your job hunt, you should do a background check on yourself to see the specifics of your record and see what is available to the public. There are multiple criminal background screening scenarios and depending on your situation, you may be able to answer “no” to any questions that ask about your criminal past.
For example, arrests without convictions that are older than 7 years won’t show up while non-conviction arrests that happened within 7 years of your arrest will show up. Or perhaps you were convicted for something that didn’t require you serve a prison sentence in which case there may or may not be a record.
Furthermore, depending on how severe the crime was that you committed, your age when the incident happened and the amount of time that’s elapsed since you committed the crime, you have the option to either have your criminal records sealed or have your records expunged completely so that any information related to the crime won’t show up on a background check.
Do All Employers Run A Criminal Background Check?
No, but there are employers that are required by law to run a criminal background check prior to being able to make a job offer. Moreover, many employers who aren’t required by law to run a criminal background check will conduct one as part of the screening process.
Barred Occupations For Those With A Criminal Record
While it’s illegal for an employer to refuse to hire you for a job just because you have a criminal conviction, there is one caveat. There are some occupations that can be made off limits if you have a criminal record. Specifically, you can be refused a job if it’s related to your conviction.
- If you were convicted of an offense that was related to alcohol, such as a DUI, it is legal for an employer not to hire you if the job is for a liquor store, or as a server in a restaurant that sells alcohol.
- If you were convicted of an offense that was related to fire arms, for example carrying a concealed weapon without a license, it is legal for an employer to prevent you from working in a place that sell guns or from working at a job, such as security, which requires you to be near weapons.
- If you were convicted of an offense that was related to money, such as money laundering, you can be barred from working in a bank or other financial institutions.
Occupations That Can Be Difficult To Get With A Criminal Record
While it can be difficult enough to get a job with a criminal past, certain occupations that require a license — either for the employee or for the business — can be even more difficult to attain for people who have been convicted of a felony.
- Health care occupations such as dental assistants
- Child care occupations such as school teachers or counselors
- Elderly care occupations such as a caregiver in a nursing home or home health care center
While it may be more difficult to get a job in these fields, some organizations, like nursing homes, will typically look to help you with obtaining a license so you can work there.
If you’re looking to get into one of these fields that are difficult to get into with a criminal record, you should try and network with people within the organization. Doing so will help to make sure that are considered based on your qualifications and personality, not your criminal record.
The good news for those who are looking to get a job with a criminal record is that there are many more jobs that are available to you than those that are barred. As you explore what career path you’d like to take, you’ll be surprised as just how many possibilities there are.
Since the rules about barred occupations and work restrictions might be complicated depending on your situation, make sure to take the time to understand them before applying to jobs. Consider doing a background check on yourself so that you know what part of your records are available to employers.
Remember, while it might be difficult for you to get hired for your first job, particularly if your criminal offense took place recently, or that you might not land your dream job, remember that it only gets easier after the first job. These jobs should be considered as a transition that helps you get to the next step of your career.