Of course, it comes as no surprise that having a criminal record of any kind, let alone a conviction, can lead to obstacles in finding and maintaining employment. Employers are wary of hiring those with a past. While their hesitation is understandable, it is not helpful to those who want to rebuild their lives.
Convicted offenders should not be punished for wanting to work, contribute to society, and be self-sufficient, yet the law can sometimes be a barrier. However, new changes can help make landing a job a little easier for some.
Most employers perform background checks on applicants. For some occupations, this action is a requirement, such as for positions that come with security clearance. However, for others, the law does not mandate a background check. It is also important to know that with the ease of internet searches, employers can find out lots of information about applicants on everything from public records to social media.
Ban the Box legislation
The good news is that Tennessee has enacted the Ban the Box legislation that eliminated the criminal history part of initial applications. This move gives offenders equal chances in the first screening and an opportunity to make a positive impression in the interview stage. The law also requires that for professions that do require background checks, the employer must make this fact known in the job advertisement. The Equal Employment Opportunity Commission outlines other laws regarding how employers can use background checks in the hiring process to prevent discrimination.
The best defense to employment challenges is a good defense in the courtroom. Avoiding a conviction can eliminate many of the obstacles in getting a job. An expungement can also help in clearing a criminal record to make the information unavailable to potential employers in most cases. Eligibility for this option depends on the nature of the crime. An experienced criminal defense lawyer can review your situation and explain your legal options.