A school bus driver with numerous DUI convictions. A nursing home attendant with several arrests for violent assault. An accountant who served time in jail for banking fraud. You are more likely to read a news story about a crime or tragic accident that occurred because an employer failed to do a proper criminal background check.
However, there are many more cases where applicants are turned away from jobs because of criminal records, even though they were well qualified for the positions and their convictions had little or nothing to do with the current open position.
A recent report by the U.S. Equal Employment Opportunity Commission (EEOC) found the following:
- Employers turn down prospective job applicants based on their criminal record even if the specific criminal conduct has no direct relationship to the position
- Employers interpret criminal history differently based on the race and national origin of the applicant
- Employers often rely on arrests records instead of actual criminal convictions
Regarding the third point, the EEOC found that state and FBI arrest records often did not show if the arrest led to a criminal conviction or the charges were dropped or dismissed. Employers may turn down applicants, judging that the conduct that led to an arrest makes an applicant unfit for the position. However, excluding applicants based on arrest records may be unfair.
If you are arrested on a criminal charge, whether it is a misdemeanor or felony, consult a criminal defense attorney with experience in getting charges dismissed, negotiating deals for reduced charges, and fair sentencing. Even if your arrest does not lead to a conviction, you may end up facing serious repercussions down the line if the arrest pops up during a background check. Speak with your lawyer about how to safeguard your record.