Criminal History on Your Background Check

What do you do when you have a criminal charge greater than a felony on your record? Many employment applications have you check of a box about your criminal history and, for many former criminals, this often costs them employment. Although rules protect candidates from discrimination based on race, religion, gender, and sexual orientation in employment, former criminals have no laws protecting them and, as a result, those who leave prison after finishing a term and go to look for work have a difficult time finding employment. Although some parole and post-prison programs are available to former inmates to place them in places of employment, most former criminals don’t have this option.

So, if you’re a former criminal and your criminal history shows up on a background check or you list it on an application, what do you do? As with the previous day’s post, one of the first things to do is seek legal advice in regards to specific discrimination based on criminal history on your background check. Although, essentially, no laws protect you from being discriminated against in the job application process, all employers behave differently in regards to applications, so find out what employers can and can’t do when they uncover – or you inform them – of your criminal past.

The other option is to find a career counseling service. Although this won’t eliminate your criminal record from being seen on a background check, career services can point you toward resources, such as jobs and training programs, that won’t discriminate against former criminals. As far as the information on your background check is concerned, the longer you go without additional criminal convictions, the more you show that you’ve recovered from your criminal past. Although charges older than seven years may be removed from your background check, some, such as a fingerprinted FBI records background check, will have them permanently. In this instance, having a strong explanation about your past and how you’ve changed – as well as character references to back up you – gives you additional leverage in getting a position.