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Confusing Employment Screening Application Questions

Often employers ask on their applications if you were ever convicted on a crime. Or ask whether you have ever been convicted of a felony or misdemeanor. Often the application says the applicant does not have to divulge a case that was expunged or dismissed, or that was a MINOR traffic violation. All this can be very confusing to an applicant. For more information on these types of questions please visit the page below from our website:

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Difference Between Arrest Records and Conviction Records Federal law does not prohibit employers from asking about your criminal history. But, federal EEO laws do prohibit employers from discriminating when they use criminal history information. Using criminal history information to make employment decisions may violate Title VII of the Civil Rights Act of 1964, as amended (Title VII). Being arrested is not proof that someone engaged in criminal conduct. Therefore, an individual’s arrest record standing alone may not be used by an employer to take a negative employment action (e.g., not hiring, firing or suspending an applicant or employee). However, an arrest may trigger an inquiry into whether the conduct underlying the arrest justifies such action. In contrast, a conviction record will usually be sufficient to demonstrate that a person engaged in particular criminal conduct. In certain circumstances, however, there may be reasons for an employer not to rely on the conviction record alone when making an employment decision. Many times an applicant who has not been convicted of a crime will answer no to questions about an arrest record. Wishful thinking perhaps, but employers should make sure that their employment applications are clear on this point. Carefully read the felony question carefully. Not all felony questions are the same. For example, some job applications simply ask for felony convictions in the past five years. If your conviction was seven years ago, you can simply say “no,” and move on. Explain your conviction. If the application gives you space to explain your conviction, do so and do it honestly. If the conviction is far in the past, state what the conviction was and how long ago it occurred. Most importantly, take responsibility and explain lessons you learned. Point out how long ago it was and your clean record since the offense.The more time that has elapsed the better. Emphasize your commitment to avoid any further interaction with the criminal justice system. Employment decisions. These laws may prohibit employers from asking about arrest records or require employers to wait until late in the hiring process to ask about conviction records. If you have questions about these kinds of laws, you should contact your state fair employment agency for more information.

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