Of job applicants with criminal records

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Yet over 30 questions about criminal records beyond the application process. One part of the federal First Step Act, recently-enacted criminal justice reform, opens up funding for job training as convicts re-integrate into society. Though Trump signed the First Step Act into law, his administration has been criticized for a proposed tweak on job-application rules.

Does your state allow a prospective employer to ask you about your criminal records?

The planned change would make federal job seekers reveal if they participated in programs allowing them to avoid jail time for low-level offenses. Andrew Keshner is a personal finance reporter based in New York. Economic Calendar Tax Withholding Calculator.

Background Checks: What Employers Need to Know

Retirement Planner. Sign Up Log In. Home Personal Finance. First, the employer must ask for your written permission before getting the report. You don't have to give your permission, but if you're applying for a job and you don't give your permission, the employer may reject your application. If an employer gets a background report on you without your permission, contact the FTC see below.

Second, if the employer thinks it might not hire or retain you because of something in the report, it must give you a copy of the report and a "notice of rights" that tells you how to contact the company that made the report. This is because background reports sometimes say things about people that aren't accurate, and could even cost them jobs. If you see a mistake in your background report, ask the background reporting company to fix it, and to send a copy of the corrected report to the employer.

You also should tell the employer about the mistake. You can get your credit report and fix any mistakes before an employer sees it.

What If Your Candidate Has A Criminal Record?

To get your free credit report, visit www. You don't have to buy anything, or pay to fix mistakes.

If there is something negative in your background, be prepared to explain it and why it shouldn't affect your ability to do the job. Also, if the problem was caused by a medical condition, you can ask for a chance to show that you still can do the job.


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Sometimes it's legal for an employer not to hire you or to fire you because of information in your background, and sometimes it is illegal. An example of when it is illegal is when the employer has different background requirements depending on your race, national origin, color, sex, religion, disability, genetic information including family medical history , or older age 40 or older.

Fighting to change my criminal record - BBC Newsnight

For example, it would be illegal to reject applicants of one ethnicity with criminal records for a job, but not reject other applicants with the same criminal records. This is true whether or not the information was in a background report.


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Even if the employer treated you the same as everyone else, using background information still can be illegal discrimination. In addition, when you run background checks through a company in the business of compiling background information, you must comply with the Fair Credit Reporting Act FCRA. This publication explains how to comply with both the federal nondiscrimination laws and the FCRA. It's also a good idea to review the laws of your state and municipality regarding background reports or information because some states and municipalities regulate the use of that information for employment purposes.

In all cases, make sure that you're treating everyone equally.

Learn about legal protections for applicants and employees with criminal records.

It's illegal to check the background of applicants and employees when that decision is based on a person's race, national origin, color, sex, religion, disability, genetic information including family medical history , or age 40 or older. For example, asking only people of a certain race about their financial histories or criminal records is evidence of discrimination.


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Except in rare circumstances, don't try to get an applicant's or employee's genetic information, which includes family medical history. Even if you have that information, don't use it to make an employment decision. Don't ask any medical questions before a conditional job offer has been made.

If the person has already started the job, don't ask medical questions unless you have objective evidence that he or she is unable to do the job or poses a safety risk because of a medical condition. If you get background information for example, a credit or criminal background report from a company in the business of compiling background information , there are additional procedures the FCRA requires beforehand:. Any background information you receive from any source must not be used to discriminate in violation of federal law.

This means that you should:. When taking an adverse action for example, not hiring an applicant or firing an employee based on background information obtained through a company in the business of compiling background information, the FCRA has additional requirements:. By giving the person the notice in advance, the person has an opportunity to review the report and explain any negative information.

Any personnel or employment records you make or keep including all application forms, regardless of whether the applicant was hired, and other records related to hiring must be preserved for one year after the records were made, or after a personnel action was taken, whichever comes later. The EEOC extends this requirement to two years for educational institutions and for state and local governments. If the applicant or employee files a charge of discrimination, you must maintain the records until the case is concluded. Once you've satisfied all applicable recordkeeping requirements, you may dispose of any background reports you received.