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How to Get a Job With a Criminal Record

It can be tricky to find employment in California, yet this process is made profoundly more difficult for people that have a criminal record. As it turns out, there are a lot of employers out there who actively avoid hiring people who have a criminal record, however, this is not entirely legal, as we will highlight later on in this article.

Employers are supposed to make individual decisions based on each candidate’s merits, and whether or not they would be a good fit for the role based on their skills and relevant experience. The matter of race, gender, and criminal history should not come into it.

On top of this, it’s estimated that 1 in 3 Californians have a criminal record of some kind, which is a huge percentage of the hiring pool to discriminate against. In this article, we will take a look at the process of getting a job with a criminal record in California, and what does and does not show up during pre-employment checks. Let’s get into it.

How to Get a Job With a Criminal Record

What Shows Up in a Police Check

If you’re wondering how to get a job with a criminal record, you will probably want to know what comes up in a criminal background check. Well, a pre-employment check usually includes looking into the applicant’s criminal history, the information they provided regarding their education and previous employment, as well as any professional licenses they hold.

The criminal background check will reveal any felony and misdemeanor convictions, pending criminal cases, or any other history of incarceration, although, this is only for convictions that occurred as an adult. Juvenile convictions do not usually appear on standard pre-employment checks. Depending on the role that you are applying for, there may be some criminal background affect on credit score, especially if you’re applying for a role in finance.

It’s important to note that the disclosure of convictions more than seven years old is forbidden in California.

What Your Employer is Legally Allowed to Consider

California introduced it “ban the box” legislation back in January 2018. This clearly stipulates that employers are prohibited from inquiring, or discussing an applicant’s previous criminal history before they have made a formal conditional offer of employment.

Furthermore, even after the employer has made a conditional offer of employment, they are still not allowed to deny employment based on their previous conviction, as long as it has been spent.

However, the employer is legally allowed to consider the nature of the convictions, the requirements of the job, and the time that has passed since the conviction itself. If the nature of the conviction is in no way related to the job, does not impact the job requirements, and enough time has passed since the employer is not permitted to consider the conviction in the employment decision process.

 Get a Job With a Criminal Record in California

Can You Get a Job With a Criminal Record?

If you’re wondering how to get a job with a criminal record, a criminal history should not deter you from going after the job of your dreams. It’s perfectly possible to attain gainful and respected jobs for felons and jobs for people with records.

The Society for Human Resource Management recently found that over 80% of hiring managers believe that workers with a criminal background bring just as much, or sometimes even more value than workers without records.

As of July 1, 2020, California has enacted a major licensing reform that will make it much easier to get a job with a criminal record as it allows people with records to obtain professional licenses from 37 licensing agencies. This increases the number of jobs for people with criminal records. This even makes it entirely possible for someone with a criminal background to gain employment as a criminal defense attorney.

Are There Any Jobs That Do Not Require a Background Check in California

Luckily, there are jobs for felons, and jobs for people with a criminal record out there. However, it’s worth noting that criminal record searches are used by around 83% of employers that conduct pre-employment screening. The only way to know if a job will entail a background check is to ask the employer upfront.

You can also check websites such as to see if you can get an idea into the application process and reach out to current employees.

With that being said, getting a job with a criminal record is typically easier than most people expect, as long as they are open and honest about the history and disclose all relevant information to the employer.

Shaheen Manshoory
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