How Criminal Records Affect Employment

By: Kat Saks August 11, 2012
Share This Page
Share Pin It Email Print

Most people agree that crime doesn't pay. You pay the price of your crimes when you serve out your sentence.

Unfortunately though, even after you serve the sentence of a conviction, your criminal record can continue to impact many aspects of your life, especially your employment.

Learn how a criminal history can affect future employment and what you can do to prepare for this consequence of your conviction.

Employers Often Run Criminal Background Checks

Any employer can conduct a criminal record check before or after hiring someone. Not all employers run background checks, but every employer has a right to.

NOTE: If an employer chooses not to run a background check or doesn't ask whether or not you have a criminal record, you are not required to disclose information about your criminal history.

What Appears on a Criminal Background Check

A background check can tell an employer about your criminal history and many other aspects of your life, including, but not limited to:

  • Basic identifying information (i.e., your full name, age, birth date, and drivers license number).
  • Any felonies or misdemeanors on your record.
  • History of your addresses of residence.
  • Current and past arrests and court warrants.
  • Federal and state tax liens.
  • Federal and state bankruptcies.
  • Description of distinguishing body markings, such as tattoos, scars, or birthmarks.
  • List of all known relatives.
  • Any property ownership.
  • History of your marriages and divorces.

Searching criminal records can provide a robust array of information about your past. If you are uncertain about what information appears on your record, consider running a background check on yourself first.

Denial of Employment Due to a Criminal History

Any private employer can deny you employment or fire you if you have a criminal record. Sadly, no matter how much you regret your past conviction, a criminal history can stick with you.

An employer might choose not to hire a convict for numerous reasons, such as:

  • Enforcement of employment laws. In order to avoid negligent recruitment charges, a company might steer clear of a convicted criminal as a job candidate.
  • Work place safety. Some employers believe that hiring previously convicted individuals decreases the safety of their working environment.
  • Security. Some employers require a certain level of security clearance before hiring an individual. If you have a criminal record, you might not pass the employer's security requirements.

How to Deal With Your Criminal Record With Employers

Be upfront about your criminal record before an employer conducts a background check. Your honesty might go a long way towards gaining the trust of a potential employer. Express your remorse and discuss what you learned from your mistakes. Also, provide several solid references from previous employers who can vouch for you.

Depending on your circumstances, you might consider seeking an expungement for your criminal charges. Consult with a criminal law attorney to learn more about this option.

Has your criminal record ever impacted your employment offers? Share your experience in the comments section below.

Recent Articles