Criminal Records and Prospective Employment


Criminal Records and Prospective Employment

If you have a criminal record, it can add a layer of complication to your life when it comes to getting a job. Getting arrested and convicted for a violent crime or a drug crime could have a lingering effect on your career. Under Massachusetts state law, employers are not permitted to ask you about any criminal convictions you have had in the first stage of the application process. This means that on an initial job application, prospective employers may not inquire about your criminal record. However, once you have successfully made it to the interview stage, more information about your criminal past might come out into the open. This post examines criminal records and prospective employment. 

The Interview Stage

During the interview stage of applying for a new job, the prospective employer may request your permission to obtain a copy of your Criminal Offender Record Information (CORI). Giving your permission requires that you complete and sign an acknowledgement form stating that you know and understand that the prospective employer is requesting a copy of your CORI or is seeking to obtain a criminal background check on you. This form enables the prospective employer to obtain a copy of your CORI.

The CORI that prospective employers get access to is a less detailed version than if you personally made a request for your CORI, and it only reports convictions and any cases involving you that are open. This is why it is important that you do not personally provide a copy of your CORI, and instead leave the procurement of your CORI up to the prospective employer.

At The Final Stages Of Applying For A Job

At the final stages of a job application, such as a final job interview, or a call back interview, prospective employers are permitted to delve a little deeper into your criminal history. They may ask you if you have ever been convicted of a felony, and they may also ask you about a misdemeanor conviction that you had within the past 5 years.

What Prospective Employers Cannot Ask You About

As a general rule, at no point during your application process for a new job is your prospective employer permitted to ask you questions about the following:

  • Any first time convictions for a misdemeanor related to disturbance of the peace, drunkenness, affray, minor traffic violations, such as speeding, or simple assault.
  • Any arrest or detention that you may have been subjected to at a police station, unless your case ended in a conviction that is not sealed.
  • Any sealed criminal case.*
  • Any juvenile court record, unless you were tried as an adult in another court and convicted.*

*There are very limited circumstances where an employer may ask you about these criminal records. For example, employers involved in childcare may inquire into these records.

Beat Your Charges At The Outset, Contact A Criminal Defense Attorney

Having a criminal record could cost you a potential job opportunity, so your best strategy when facing criminal charges is to not be convicted in the first place. If you are facing criminal charges, you need a knowledgeable criminal defense attorney with years of criminal defense experience on your side fighting for you.