When seeking a job, your prospective employer may need more than the application forms you can provide. The reason is that it’s common for a job applicant to give false information when expecting a job. Some do this because they never performed well in school. The worst of all is when an applicant has a criminal record and doesn’t want it to be used to disqualify them for the job. Your employer must conduct a background check to know you better. However, he/she doesn’t have the right to dig deep into your personal life matters. If you have a criminal record, you may be wondering whether you will get a job. In fact, your hiring process may come to a halt if your employer learns about your criminal history.
A Prospective Applicant With A Conviction Record
If an employer has disqualified you because of your criminal record, the California law may protect you. The reason why employers conduct an employment background check in California is to:
- Seek to promote workplace safety
- Protect the third party (customers) from abuse
- Avoid negligent hiring. This is mostly avoided in highly regulated occupations such as in police enforcement jobs or security personnel. The worst part is that in every three adults, there is one with a criminal record, so it pays to have these checks.
In such cases, employers are obliged by the government to disqualify an applicant with a conviction record. Convictions that are older than seven years do not need to be reported. Again, if you were accused of charges that never amounted to conviction, your employer has no right to disqualify you from getting the employment. However, you may be requested to report any pending convictions. Sometimes the criminal records may be inaccurate. If an employer relies on such information, you may end up losing a job. The best thing is that the introduction of ban-the-box law came into effect. Thus, your employer cannot ask about your criminal history until after the last stage of your application. It’s unreasonable for any employer to disqualify you on the grounds that you have ever been involved in criminal convictions.
Incomplete/ Inaccurate Criminal Conviction Records
Most of the background information conducted is incomplete or inaccurate. The employer could have obtained the information from a third party who may have distorted information. It can be very disheartening if your employer makes his /her decision based on the wrong information. The reason could be that:
- Your criminal record may have a misclassified offense
- You had another person’s information on your records,
- Your records never indicated the final decision of the matter. For instance, your charges could have been dismissed or dropped
If your employer has decided not to hire you, he/she has an obligation to:
- State the basis of his/her decision regarding your records
- Provide a copy of the report of your conviction
- Allow you to defend by giving you a certain deadline: After providing favorable evidence, the employer should then give the final decision of whether to hire you or not. This must include the reasons why you have been disqualified. If there is incorrect or inaccurate information on your records, you can file a complaint with the California Department of Fair Employment and Housing (DFEH).
While you must provide evidence, the consumer reporting agencies must also make sure they give out the correct information to avoid inconveniences to the applicants. Applicants have the right to have an opportunity to give any information on why they should not be disqualifies based on their conviction records. This ensures that employers don’t discriminate against those with criminal records. If such is to happen, the exclusion must be based on the business requirements. The employer must weigh out whether hiring such an applicant would pose an unnecessary risk to the business or the public. If you have been disqualified based on your criminal records, this could be because the employer is discriminating applicants either based on different races, gender, or religion, among others. The employer is supposed to consider many factors when coming up with the decision to hire or not to hire. Some of these include:
- The gravity of the criminal conviction
- Time spent since the criminal offense was conducted
- The nature of the job the applicant is applying for
Getting Legal Help
If your employer is reluctant to offer you a job based on your criminal record, you may have a tough moment. This is because the law related to conducting background checks is very complicated. Also, every state has its own way of how to conduct these checks. It’s, therefore, wise if faced with such issues to consult an experienced employment lawyer. At no time should your employer conduct the background check without written consent. You should also receive notice before your employer decides not to hire you based on your conviction records.