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Will a misdemeanor stop me from getting a job?

Fred Asked:
Can a minor-misdemeanor keep you from getting a job? If not, should it even appear on a background check for employment?

We Found:
We spoke to Brian McElwee, from, he says this is not legal advice but with that said, our experience as a screening organization finds that each state has its own regulations regarding the report ability and use of misdemeanor conviction information, in addition to what is provided in the FCRA. Cases can be made for both sides of using such information in an employment decision, and in both cases it would likely come down to the misdemeanor’s relationship to the job. A conviction for DUI wouldn’t have much to do with a position as an assembly-person, provided he or she can get to work. But a conviction for petty theft might be considered for a person applying as an in-home assistant to an elderly person. Also consider repeat offenders—is someone convicted of three separate misdemeanors during the past five years any different than a one-time conviction? Or what if a felony was reduced to a misdemeanor as part of a plea-deal? All items to be considered in the hiring decision as long as it’s within the law.

We spoke to a large employer of Columbus, misdemeanors do appear on a background check for 7 years if the person is over 21. Depending on the company policy they probably won’t get hired. They always run a criminal background check in all counties that the person lived and it is verified by the person’s birth date and social security number. Bad checks can even keep a person for not getting a job especially if they work for a bank or have any financial responsibilities. A drug test is also part of a pre-employment background check.

We spoke to Nick Fishman, Chief Marketing Officer, from employeescreenIQ, he says it is entirely up to the employer to decide what criteria they want to use when conducting a background check, so long as the searches they conduct and resources utilized are lawful and also that they are consistently applied to the entire organization. When conducting a criminal background check, most employers will conduct a felony and misdemeanor search. While they may not decide to use misdemeanor convictions in their hiring decision, it is both legal and widely acceptable to seek such information. There are some organizations that are unconcerned about minor offenses and others that are. It is, however an employer’s responsibility to decide what makes sense for them so long as they do not discriminate.
Posted by on 12/16 at 10:01 AM
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