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Do Jobs Check for Misdemeanors?

By September 18, 2018 Uncategorized
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Can I Get Hired with a Misdemeanor?

A misdemeanor record can make finding a job more difficult because they can show up on your background check. However, employers may choose to overlook a misdemeanor. During your interview, be honest about your past and explain how it has made you a better person. There are plenty of opportunities out there for you. Having a misdemeanor is not the end of the world or your career.

Knowing how to address misdemeanor charges during the application process can be hard, but don’t let yourself get discouraged. We’ve created a list of common questions to help you determine the next step in your job search.

Do misdemeanors show up on a background check?

Yes. Misdemeanors are a lesser crime than a felony. However, misdemeanors remain on your record permanently, meaning a misdemeanor can show up if your employer does a background check on you.

Are misdemeanors bad?

Generally, misdemeanors are considered less serious than felonies, but they are still serious offenses that can carry jail time. Although we all make mistakes, misdemeanors will stay with you permanently.

Some employers may have policies against hiring people convicted of certain crimes, including misdemeanors. Likewise, some employers may not hire employees with specific types of misdemeanors that the employer feels may impact the ability to perform the job duties. For instance, a house cleaning service may not want to hire someone with a theft or trespassing misdemeanor.

Can you get a misdemeanor off your record?

Misdemeanors can be sealed or removed from your record through an expungement. This legal process can vary from state to state, and may only cover specific categories of crimes. Requirements are set by the state and you will need to hire a lawyer to start the expungement process.

What kind of jobs accept misdemeanors?

There are several fields which tend to be less restrictive in background requirements. Of course, these requirements will vary from employer to employer, but in general, the following fields are more accepting of less than perfect backgrounds: skilled trades, automotive technology, renewable energy, culinary arts, office administration, art and design, computer technology and digital/interactive media.

Which misdemeanors prevent employment?

Getting a misdemeanor is not the end of the world. While your misdemeanor may prevent you from working at some companies, there are still many companies that will hire people with a wide variety of convictions.  Ultimately, each employer has different hiring requirements for their company or specific positions.

That said, while misdemeanor convictions are not as serious as felony convictions, misdemeanors can still be reviewed for hiring decisions and may impact your ability to be hired.

In general, violent, theft and drug-related crimes can raise the most concern for employers. The nature of the conviction will be considered with the type of job you will be doing in this process. For example, a crime against a child can prevent you from being hired at a school or daycare, but may not prevent you from working in a factory.

Remember, you may have fewer options, but there are still many companies who will hire you.

Should I discuss my misdemeanor when applying for a job?

If you have been convicted of a misdemeanor, use good judgment about disclosing it to a possible employer. Most states do not require you disclose your misdemeanor convictions, although fields such as law enforcement, caregiving and education require all crimes be disclosed. But remember, your employer can see your convictions if they do a complete background check.

Are misdemeanors considered convictions?

Yes. If you have been to court and either plead guilty or were found guilty of a misdemeanor, you have been convicted. If your guilt has not been established and the case is currently being prosecuted, you have only been charged and have not been convicted yet. Employers can view your convictions in a background check.

Do you have to disclose a misdemeanor on a job application?

Usually, when background information is requested on an application, it clearly requests only felony conviction information. Also, many applications only request information from the past seven to 10 years. Some states restrict certain background information from employers. An expunged or sealed misdemeanor conviction does not have to be put on your application. And remember, many employers do not disqualify a candidate based on misdemeanors.

Do I have to disclose a misdemeanor after seven years?

Most companies will conduct a background check during your hiring process. Federal and state laws determine how far back your records can be reviewed. Federal law does not limit how far back an employer can review your criminal record. However, some states do have limits, but they vary from state-to-state.  When you are applying for a job it may ask you “Have you been convicted of a misdemeanor/felony in the last 7 years?”  If your misdemeanor happened over 7 years ago then  you are free and clear to say “no.”  On the other hand, if the question has a more open timeframe such as “Have you ever been convicted of a misdemeanor/felony?” then you would need to answer “yes.”  Normally you will be given some additional space to explain the charge and when it occurred.  It is always best to be honest on your application because if you falsify your answer and it comes back on your background check, then you likely won’t be considered for the job.

Do dismissed cases show up on a criminal background check?

If you were not convicted, you generally do not need to disclose the charge. However, if the dismissed case appears on a background check, explain the circumstancesand why the case was dismissed. This is also a good opportunity to discuss what you learned from the situation and why you are not a risky hire.

Do I need a letter explaining a misdemeanor?

Some states limit background check inquiries, but not all. Some states allow for requests of explanation of the crime. Usually, letters explaining a misdemeanor are requested for licenses to be issued, such as real estate, nursing and such. If you have to write a letter explaining your crime, be truthful but don’t provide too much information. Just state the facts for clarity. Be honest, take accountability, do not blame your problems on others or circumstances and explain what you have learned.

Do arrests show up on a background check?

When employers conduct a background check, arrests may show up in the record. In some states, these records can be used in hiring decisions for up to seven years under the Fair Credit Reporting Act (FCRA) laws. However, some states limit the use of arrest records in hiring decisions. It is best to be honest about your record and address the issue head-on during the interview.

Do pending charges show up on a background check?

Most background check services will provide pending charge information. However, while the FCRA laws allow this information to be considered when hiring, some states limit employers to only using convictions for these decisions. The EEOC also recommends employers consider the nature of the offense, how long ago it occurred, and the nature of the job they are applying for. If the crime was severe, recent or relevant to the type of job you are applying for, the employer may use this information in their decision.

What states have a seven-year limit on background checks?

As of 2018, there are 12 states in the US which limit background checks to a seven-year review. These states are: California, Kansas, Maryland, Massachusetts, Montana, Nevada, New Hampshire, New Mexico, New York, Washington, Colorado and Texas. States which limit reporting of pending charges to the past seven years are: Kansas, Maryland, Massachusetts, Montana, New Hampshire, New Mexico and Washington.

How can I find a good job when I have a misdemeanor criminal record?

Be prepared to talk about your past honestly, but be sure to focus on what you have learned in the process and the changes you have made. However, don’t make your past the focus of the interview. Be sure to focus on your skills and talents.

You have value as a potential employee and taking ownership of your actions shows responsibility. Be sure to show off your positive personality and good work ethic as well.

Dress tastefully for the interview, display professionalism and use good manners.  Have a resume that clearly presents your skills and your past work history. Having reliable former bosses as references can help you demonstrate how dependable, trustworthy and reliable you can be. Never forget you have many gifts and can provide a lot of value in the world with hard work and perseverance.

Where do I go for employment with a misdemeanor charge?

Although a misdemeanor is not as serious as a felony, it may still limit your job prospects depending on the nature of the conviction. However, there are many career options which do not require background checks or have fewer background qualifications, which may be a good fit for you. If you’re seeking a career, start by applying for jobs or getting training in technology, food service, automotive repair or design. Requirements may vary by position, however, these industries tend to be more open to applicants due to high demand. Working with a staffing agency will give you access to multiple jobs in several industries. The agency will review your background and offer you placements which meet your skills and qualifications, saving you time and frustration in applying for multiple jobs individually and waiting on responses.

Can I get fired from my current job if I am convicted of a misdemeanor?

An employer’s ability to fire you for convictions while you are working for their company varies from state to state. If you work as an “at-will” employee, you can be fired without notice and a reason does not have to be supplied. However, some states have laws which require cause be shown if you are fired.

If your conviction is the cause, it is the employer’s responsibility to show how your conviction would negatively impact the employer. For example, if you work for a daycare and are convicted of child abuse, this could be cause for you to lose your job, even if the crime was not committed at the daycare. You are not required to disclose pending charges to an employer, however, missing work regularly for appointments with lawyers and court dates may cause your employer to become suspicious. It is always best to be honest and work with your employer as you go through the legal process. Your employer recognizes that you are innocent until proven guilty, and will appreciate your openness.

Will I lose my job if I have to be absent to go to court trials for my misdemeanor?

Each employer sets its own attendance policy. Some employers choose to excuse absences for the court in any capacity. However, employers are only legally required to excuse absences for court when you have been summoned by the court as a witness or for jury duty. If you are to stand trial or are being prosecuted, your absence is not required by law to be excused. It is best to discuss your scheduled absences with your employer to prevent losing your job for attendance issues.

How many years back does an employment background check go?

In most cases, a full background check will review the past seven years. However, some employers may require a review of up to 10 years in the past, based on the salary of the position offered. Some state laws may be more restrictive on the length of allowable time reviewed.  One thing to note is that you can request your background check from your potential employer if you wish to see what comes up on the check.  This will let you know exactly what employers are seeing and if there are any errors.  These errors can be on your specific record or it may be that someone with a similar name has a wrap sheet but the potential employer thinks it’s you.  Don’t be afraid to ask for the report.

You are not defined by your past. With hard work and perseverance, you can succeed. Searching for a job is always stressful, and having a misdemeanor conviction can make the process a little harder. Don’t give up. There’s a job out there for you.

Onin Staffing is ready to help you find a career opportunity that fits you best. If you have additional questions regarding this topic, respond below or visit your nearest Ōnin Staffing office.

36 Comments

  • Tommy Wildly says:

    My my name is Tommy I used to work at Walmart I was fired for gross misdemeanor i never Receive anything in the mail Been about 2 years now trying to move on and focus something else I apply for Publix I was just wondering if it will show up

    • Tabitha Ray says:

      Hi Tommy,

      At Ōnin Staffing, we do not believe your past defines you. Our local branches work with people of various backgrounds. We would be happy to work with you to get you back to work. Please visit our Locations page at http://www.oninstaffing.com/locations, and visit with your nearest office. We look forward to helping you to start a new career!

  • Lori says:

    I was charged with a misdemeanor 10 years ago and it was expunged 4 years ago. Will this still show on my background check?

    • Tabitha Ray says:

      Hi Lori,

      Laws can vary from state to state, but in most states, once a record is expunged, it does not appear in a background check. However, should it appear, the record should show the expungement. If you find this is not the case, you can contact the background check company and ask them to correct their report. Also, employers will accept a court document showing the record has been expunged as well. You are not defined by your past and at Ōnin, we work with people with many different kinds of backgrounds and skill sets. Although we follow our clients’ background requirements, we work with many different local companies in multiple areas of industry. We would be happy to help you with your career journey. You can find a full list of our locations at http://www.oninstaffing.com/locations.

  • Mai says:

    My misdemeanor is currently pending and this job interview only ask about felony changes. Will this pending misdemeanor affect my chance in getting this job? I’m currently planning to fight this misdemeanor in court.

    • Tabitha Ray says:

      Dealing with any legal issue can be stressful, so we understand your concern, Mia. At Onin Staffing, we work with people from all backgrounds, facing many different situations. Our staff will be happy to help you find a great job in your area. Please visit any of our locations to get started. We hope to meet you soon!

    • B says:

      I’m in the same situation right now. How did it go with you getting the job?

  • Stefania says:

    Hello, on December 2018 I was at a bar in Miami and a police came up to me saying I need to leave the place but I didn’t understood why, i was tipsy but calm and quite. The police insisted like 3 times and I said no. He then said to me I was Trespassing a private property. At that moment I did nit understood what trespassing means (im not native english speaker) so he arrested me. I stayed 1 night in a correctional. My case was dropped, thanksfully. What I would like to know if that 1 night in the correctional is the same as going to jail.
    Im looking for a job but im afraid this misdemeanor will complicate my search.

    • Tabitha Ray says:

      We can understand your concern, Stefania. At Onin Staffing, we do not hold your past against you and we will be happy to work with you. Please visit any of our branches to start the process of joining the Onin team. We look forward to meeting you!

  • Poppy hill says:

    You don’t have an office in Michigan. Do you help people in Michigan that have misdemeanors?

    • Tabitha Ray says:

      Hi Poppy,

      Thank you for reaching out to us! Although we are very happy to work with people of all backgrounds, you are correct in that we do not have an office in Michigan at this time. Any of our offices would be happy to help you if you relocate or if we open a branch near you. We update our branch locations page each time we open a new office at oninstaffing.com/locations. We wish you luck in your job search and hope to work with you in the future!

  • Chiqueta Jones says:

    Hi my name is Chiqueta and I have a misdemeanor and this is my first time. I lost my job with the school district of Philadelphia because of this. I am currently looking for a job.

    • Paige Deal says:

      Hello Chiqueta,
      I’m sorry to hear about you losing your job. Not all hope is lost though, there are still plenty of options out there for employment. While we would love to have you meet with one of our teams at Onin, we, unfortunately, don’t have any offices in PA at this time. That being said, I would still recommend you reach out to your local staffing agency who can take your experience and pair it with a local job that won’t mind the misdemeanor. Some companies only do a background check for felonies and others are only concerned with certain types of misdemeanors. A recruiting agency can help you find these jobs. Best of luck and thank you for checking out Onin!

  • BeccaB says:

    Over 20 years ago I was charged w/ a felony but since I was only 17 at the time I did some programs and things that decreased it to a misdemeanor. My state is one that only goes back 7 years for a background check…so what do I put on my application if they ask about criminal history? Will they see anything on the background check?

    • Paige Deal says:

      Hey Becca,
      Thank you for checking out the Onin blog! This one is tricky, some states that follow the 7-year rule do allow employers to pull, specifically, felony convictions as far back as they wish. That being said, you may want to up-front and honest with your potential employer about your history just in case they do go back 20 years–it’s unlikely, but not impossible.
      As well, make sure to read the application carefully. Do they ask “In the last 10 years have you been convicted of a felony or misdemeanor?” In this instance, you would answer no since a timeframe is referenced. If they ask “Have you ever been convicted of a felony?” you would need to answer yes. They didn’t reference a timeframe and, if your conviction was originally recorded as a felony, you would need to let them know you had once had this conviction. The good thing is there is normally an explanation line on job applications so you can explain the charge reduction and how long ago this all happened.
      I hope this helps on the job hunt and we appreciate you checking out Onin!

      • Kim says:

        Hey my question is da same as becca…. I have a theft by taken misdemeanor an it was 12 years ago an it ask on da application have i had a felony or misdemeanor within da last past 7 years….. I reply no but i did but that i had a misdemeanor will this effect me from being hired..

        • Paige Deal says:

          Hey Kim,
          Thanks for checking out our blog! It seems like you would be in the clear since that the question specifically asked about your history in the last 7 years and the misdemeanor is 12 years old. Now, the background check the hiring company pulls may go back further than 7 years but that portion is out of your control. You may still want to be upfront and honest about your past with your potential employer just so they understand that this one event is truly in the past. We wish you the best of luck with all your career goals!

  • hanna says:

    I have Misdemeanor in my background from 4 years ago but its dismissed case. Can a job not hire me even tho it was dismissed and i was never convicted ?

    • Paige Deal says:

      Hello Hanna,
      Thanks so much for stopping by the blog! As with any background check, if a particular type of crime comes up that isn’t conducive with the job, then an employer may not hire you on these grounds. For example, someone with a petty theft charge isn’t likely to be hired at a bank. Even if your case was dismissed, it may still come up on your background check. If this is the case, go ahead and explain the situation to your potential employer so they can understand the circumstances and even why it was dismissed. There are a few tips on how to do this, here. We wish you the best of luck on your job hunt and appreciate you checking out Onin!

  • Ruby says:

    Hi this is Ruby I been working for 14 years and I have a misdemeanor about 20 years ago now they’re sending me to do a fingerprint, can I loose my job in Illinois. ?

    • Paige Deal says:

      Hello Ruby,
      Thanks for checking out our blog and that is a great question! Fingerprint background checks can bring up any past offenses you have but it would ultimately be up to your company to determine if the misdemeanor they find would disqualify you from your current position. The common issues with fingerprint background checks are that they can be unreliable since fingerprints are not taken with every arrest and databases may be incomplete. This means that your misdemeanor may not come up at all. In the event that it could, you always have the option to get ahead of the situation and speak with HR to explain the situation–especially since you have worked for the company for so long. We wish you the best of luck and thanks for checking out Onin!

  • Kim Guillory says:

    My daughter has been working for Macy’s in salem oregon and she has been doing a really good job there. She has never called in sick or shown up late and has ended up being called in and working on most of her days off. Today she went to work and got fired because of a misdemeanor charge that they found in her background check. This was a charge from more than 8 years ago and my daughter had disclosed this information on her employment application. The charge had nothing to with theft or anything else pertaining to her job there. Can yhey do this? What can she do about it? I feel that this was wrongful termination.

    • Paige Deal says:

      Hello Kim,
      We are so sorry to hear about your daughter’s situation. We understand how heartbreaking situations like this are. Since laws vary so widely from state to state, we recommend that for the best legal advice you reach out to a legal counsel familiar with your state’s regulations. We wish your daughter the best of luck in her career path.

  • Haley M. says:

    I have a neglect of a dependent charge, nothing serious, like I didnt beat my child or anything but my roommate was smoking marijuana in their room and the cops came and because i had my kid in the house i got charged with neglect. The judge entered it in as a misdemeanor. I’m currently going to school to be a pharmacy technician but I was wandering if a pharmacy would generally hire me with that misdemeanor .

    • Paige Deal says:

      Hey Haley,
      I can understand your concern given the situation. Given the differing laws from state to state and what kinds of charges may matter in the medical field, I would recommend you reach out and seek legal counsel or talk to your program’s guidance counselor. They would be better equipped to help answer your questions and help you prepare for any action you may need to take. We wish you the best of luck in your future career endeavors!

  • Lu ann says:

    Hi, l was convicted of a misdemeanor assault /trespass charge 17yrs ago in 2002. I have no other charges. Could that keep me from getting a job at the hospital.

    • Paige Deal says:

      Hey Lu Ann,
      Thank you so much for checking out our blog! I understand your concern about job prospects. This situation will depend both on your location and the company that is hiring. Some states will only report the past 7 years on your background check whereas others have no specific timeframe for reporting. As well, the hospital you are applying to may not be concerned with a misdemeanor that old or the charge. Some hospitals, however, will make their employment decision around certain types of charges. If you have already applied, it may be best to be honest and explain the charge and how old it is. We wish you the best of luck and thanks for checking out Onin!

      • Lu ann says:

        I’m in North Carolina. I worked at a dialysis clinic for 5yrs. I just stop working there a few months ago. They had to do a background check. They never said anything to me about it. So you see this is why l didn’t know about it until the other day when l had to do one for school.

  • Fred says:

    I had a misdemeanor charge 20 years ago. It was a shoplifting charge. The judge was very considerate. I was under a great deal of stress , having a difficult time in life. As I had no previous offenses the judge deferred the sentence for a year during which time I completed a course and received and reported receipt of counseling. After a year the charges were dismissed. Unfortunately the incident , court deferral counseling and dismission one year later is all on that county website for viewing to this day. The information is also available on at least one of those online background check sites that nosey neighbors and relatives search to come up with dirt on those they know. I am not saying I was not wrong, I was and I do appreciate the judge giving me the consideration she did. What I fear is that if I go for another job (I am retired) will a potential employer see that and not consider me on that basis? I must admit I did not know that was still public record and so easy to access the discovery brought back the shame I had at the time. As I stated I am retired but may want to get work in the future, possibly part time for structure. At this point in my life should I try to get it expunged, or under the circumstance of being retired should I just live with it? Also if I get it expunged I am afraid it will still show up in the database of these online background check sites. Thank you in advance for your time and anticipated response.

    • Paige Deal says:

      Hello Fred,
      Thank you checking out our blog! We completely understand your frustration and hesitation given the possibilities of what could happen. It sounds like having your record expunged is a viable option but I would definitely seek legal counsel to understand how this would change your online presence. As well, if you do go back for another job you may want to be upfront with your potential employer about your past – especially how long ago it was. Hopefully, given the age of the offense, your lack of any additional issues and your honesty will make them be forgiving. As well, Onin doesn’t turn Teammates away, even if they have a past. We would love to have your passion and drive on our team. We have offices across the country: https://www.oninstaffing.com/locations/
      We wish you the best of luck in your future career endeavors and thank you so much for checking out Onin!

  • Mindy DeNigro says:

    I was charged with misdemeanor battery in 2008. I never went to jail, but spent three days in a detention facility. I went to court a month later, and the judge let me go. I assumed this wasn’t on my record anymore, but a company I applied for employment with recently informed me it was on my record after running my fingerprints. Again, I never went to jail. And, a company I worked for THREE years ago also did a fingerprint test, and that came up clear. I have also had to do security clearances in the past FOUR years, and those cleared as well. Should this still be on my record?

    • Paige Deal says:

      Hey Mindy,
      Thanks for checking out our blog! I’m sorry to hear about the issues you are having with this old situation – I’m sure it’s quite frustrating! It is hard to say if this particular offense should still be on your record since each state’s background laws are different as well as how far back each company checks. You may want to seek legal counsel on having your record expunged given the age of the situation and your lack of jail time. If the charges were dropped or dismissed you may even want to get a letter of dismissal to show any companies that may have questions about the case. A final option is to either ask the company you are applying with to further review the background check or ask for a copy of the background check yourself. This will allow you to see exactly what they are seeing and it may be that the check shows your case was dropped but they didn’t see this note. These options may help with future employment background checks and we wish you the best of luck in all your career goals! Thanks for checking out Onin and if you are still on the hunt for your next opportunity, be sure to give us a call – https://www.oninstaffing.com/locations/

  • Janet Henryhand says:

    If u have a misdemeanor charge less than a year will a job hire you

    • Paige Deal says:

      Hello Janet,
      Thank you so much for checking out our blog! When it comes to recent misdemeanors and finding work it can, honestly, be difficult — but not impossible! Each job/company will have different requirements they are looking for when filling a position. Some want a totally clean record while others are only concerned about felonies. One of the best resources to look into if you are having a hard time in your job search is a staffing agency or local recruiter. They can tap into their network of open positions to find jobs that fit your skillset and background requirements. At Onin, we encourage you to come as you are no matter what your past may contain. If you or someone you know needs help finding a job, or just wants to be a part of an awesome team, then check us out:https://www.oninstaffing.com/locations/

  • Nene says:

    I got a misdemeanor because I got caught driving with my permit only. I do have my license now though. I’m hoping to apply for a job but I’m afraid this will ruin everything. I’m still so young and in college as well.

    • Paige Deal says:

      Hey Nene,
      We are sorry to hear about that and can understand your concern. This misdemeanor may very well come up on a background check when you go to apply for a job, especially if this only occurred a few years ago. You can try to get ahead of it by being up-front and honest with your potential employer about the situation and what you learned from the situation. Your honesty up-front will likely make them a bit more understanding rather than learning about it from a background report. I wish you the best of luck on your job-search!

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