Having Arrest Records: Will They Affect Your Future Employment?

Having arrest records can affect your future employment. Let’s talk about it. You have been eyeing on this one certain job for quite some time, and you think the time has come for you to grab the opportunity to get that dream job. Because of that, you have already prepared the necessary requirements – personal documents, employment certificates, identification cards, as well as your answers to the potential questions in the job interview.But there is one thing that you have almost forgot. You have an arrest record.

Since most companies tend to conduct background checks on their employees (and their potential employees, depending on how strict the company’s policies are), chances are, the same company where your dream job has always been, would surely do a background check on you as well. There is nothing wrong in there, since it is part of the policy of every company, for the sake of their own safety and security, as well as those of their staff and other employees.

Now, the real issue is this – you previously went under arrest by the police a few years ago for some minor offense, but thankfully, you were not charged with any criminal offense regarding the said arrest. However, the said arrest has already been in the records of the police, and there will be a strong possibility that once the company would conduct a background check on you, they would find out about your previous arrest records, and for that, the company would surely think twice about hiring you as an employee, or if in case you were hired already before the background check, you might be called to the human resources office (or any similar office) regarding the said findings. Both cases, of course, would have a great impact on your chance of having gainful employment – and perhaps a better future.

Why Do Employers Conduct Background Checks?

Employers have the right to conduct a background check on job candidates to discover arrest records. However, the law requires an employer to get the applicant’s permission before beginning a background investigation. Despite this, it is still part of every employer’s policy to make a background check on their potential employees.

There are various reasons why many companies ought to make a background check on anyone who wants to apply for a job as their employee. Most companies are doing background checks as a prudent way to promote workplace safety, protect company property, and protect vulnerable populations from abuse and predatory behavior. In this way, it can also help the employers to avoid liability for harm to the customers, as well as other third parties.

The policies of companies regarding background checks and handling of applicants with arrest records, or even criminal records, are varying in accordance with the state where the company is located. For example, there are some states that would allow lawsuits for what we call negligent hiring against some employers that hire employees that they should have known in the first place, would engage in some certain violent or dangerous behavior that injures or endangers others.

Under the law, if an employer makes an adverse decision regarding employment due to arrest records found on a background check, the employer must inform the applicant or employee. In addition to that, the employer must also provide the applicant or employee with a copy of the report that is used to make the employment decision as well as contact information for the company that issued the said report.

Policies regarding arrest records and background checks also vary depending on the nature of the company and what type of job you are applying to. In certain highly regulated companies and occupations, the state or federal law may require the employers to reject certain applicants with arrest or criminal records or with certain types of convictions. So if you are applying for a position as a police officer, a prison guard, or a security screener, for example, the government employers might be obligated to disqualify those with such certain convictions on their record.

Nowadays, there are many ways on how companies conduct their background checks. Many hiring managers and human resource workers of companies search for their applicants online through various job searching and job opening websites. This means that there will be a strong tendency that the employers themselves may encounter some media reports, public records, and other details of your previous arrest, as well as any social media posts or blog mentions of the said incident. Although there is little that you can do about the media reports, it is a good idea to scrub your social media profiles and blogs for any information that could actually hamper your job search.

Bouncing Back to a Gainful Future – Are There Any Chances with an Arrest Record?

Sure, there have always been policies by most companies regarding background checks on applicants and employees, as well as the hiring of the ones with arrest and criminal records. However, that doesn’t mean it makes sense to disqualify any potential employee who has ever had a brush with the criminal justice system. As an applicant, you have certain rights provided by your state laws regarding your arrest or criminal records, and those rights include regulating the employers on how they should your records in terms of hiring.

Depending on the case, your arrest records could state that your arrest may have been an erroneous one, proven discriminatory, or worse. Therefore, a conviction for drug possession that happened several years ago, a case record on disturbing the peace, or even resisting arrest may indicate no more than youthful indiscretions – and may give no relevant information about an applicant’s ability to do a job in the present. If you had a record that happened a very long time ago, you could actually have it expunged. Once successful, you are free to deny any arrest or criminal records in all your job applications and interviews.

It is never impossible to bounce back to a good life from having criminal or arrest records. They do not reflect who you are, what you can do, and what great things you can contribute to your job and the society. To get those arrest records removed, you need to file a Motion to Expunge. Learn more here.


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DISCLAIMER: The information on this website is not formal legal advice nor does it create an attorney-client relationship.

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