Background Checks and Newly-Released Criminals

As mentioned in previous posts, a criminal background check doesn’t always pick up on past offenses, but when it does, employment is often denied, especially for certain occupations. If you’re a newly released criminal, what are you to do about finding employment? One article addresses an issue in California, in which several inmates are going to be released early and, of course, part of the steps in transitioning into being an ordinary citizen is becoming employed. As we’ve seen before, many jobs require their employees to pass a background check, but if you have criminal charges greater than misdemeanors, what options do you have?

Mentioned a few weeks ago, you should know your rights in regards to employment. Although no national rights exist for recently released prisoners looking for work, most of these rights are on the state level. While an employment office can help you with job placement and knowing your rights as an ex-convict, having a lawyer on hand is an asset, as discrimination may be prevalent in an employment search. This is particularly true in the article linked above, which states, partially, that employers see former criminals as a liability. A common statistic is that former criminals often end up back in prison – sometimes for the same reasons – because they can’t find employment. To prevent yourself, if you’re a former criminal, from becoming part of this statistic, knowing your rights in regards to employment is necessary.

A background check company is responsible for doing a screening of criminal history. For former criminals that have spent several years out of bars, finding employment becomes easier, as you’re considered less of a liability or risk. Employers, as stated in the article, can’t bar all criminals from employment, as this is considered discrimination, but each case varies with each state. While some states, for example, can prevent a former criminal from being hired to a position related to his or her crime (such as for a position working with children or in a nursing home when he or she was accused of rape or domestic abuse), other states have different rules regarding job placement and hiring of former criminals.