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Old 05-30-2009, 11:20 AM
 
1,105 posts, read 1,882,627 times
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Default Will an arrest alone keep someone out of a job today?

Really, this is not about me but someone I know. He works in security/dispatch at a hospital and has for more than 15 years. So I know it's a different world today, post 9/11, etc.

He applied for a very similar security job with a community college, where a friend works and encouraged him to apply. The app form asked about felony "convictions" and he can say no to that...but he was arrested about 17 years ago. He pled to a misdemeanor of what would have been a felony charge. (I think I have this all straight.)

Granted...this was in the security field, not, say, cooking at a fast-food place. But in today's world, is he never going to be able to get another similar job??? If so, he's essentially trapped in the current job...where overtime has been dropped and he has missed out on a few promotions. He'd have to look for a different line of work....

So...even though a form might not ask about arrests only (and I thought that was an illegal question??) they will dig deep anyway and find the arrest?

Input appreciated. I don't know what helpful/cheerful things to say.
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Old 05-30-2009, 11:44 AM
 
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When you plea, you agree to a conviction. If he pled guilty to a misdemeanor, then he has no felony conviction.

An arrest itself doesn't matter. You are innocent until proven guilty.
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Old 05-30-2009, 11:49 AM
 
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Quote:
Originally Posted by annerk View Post
When you plea, you agree to a conviction. If he pled guilty to a misdemeanor, then he has no felony conviction.

An arrest itself doesn't matter. You are innocent until proven guilty.

Thanks, Annerk. So if a form asks about "any" convictions, he's screwed...but if the question is restricted to "felony" convictions, he has a shot?

Do you think that in certain fields, though, such as security, they will dig anyway, find the arrest and say forget it? (Seems to me that 17 years ago should be past the "expiration date" of these falls from grace...)

I agree with you that the arrest itself shouldn't matter, but apparently it did in this situation. He couldn't even get in for an interview. I doubt though that he wants to pursue the matter with the EEOC or whatever....
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Old 05-30-2009, 12:25 PM
 
Location: NW San Antonio
2,519 posts, read 5,399,536 times
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Most apps now a days request have you ever, others say within the last 7 years, most background checks stop at 7 to 10 max. I just had one done by the IRS, they stopped at 7 years. like credit report. Read the application very closely, answer it honestly. If he has never been convicted, then he can answer no, but if it says, have you ever, pled guilty, been convicted, or, etc. then, ....
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Old 05-30-2009, 03:53 PM
 
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I don't know how others do it but I used to run background checks on everyone I hired. The checkbox on the application was there for two reasons; no need to run a report and spend the money if the person clearly wasn't someone I would hire and to weed out those who would lie.

The reports I got, which I presume were no different than any others, wen tback as long as there was history. The process of deciding what was important and what wasn't was highly subjective though.

Also, arrests do show and they were part of the decision making process when I felt they meant something. Like if someone had 3 arrests for drugs but no convictions I assumed that person at the very least hung out with the wrong crowd and more than likely just had a good lawyer.

As for your friend, if I looked at a report that showed nothing other than 1 conviction 17 years ago then unless it was something major I wouldn't care much.
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Old 05-30-2009, 11:40 PM
 
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If you are a felon, good luck finding work.
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Old 05-31-2009, 01:54 AM
 
Location: Neither here nor there
1,810 posts, read 4,091,758 times
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Quote:
Originally Posted by killer2021 View Post
If you are a felon, good luck finding work.
That is what I thought as well,that if you had a felony on your record it would be near impossible to get any type of a job. For example,the NYC dept of sanitation has murderers on the job,guys who have served several years in prison. As long as you are honest with them with your paperwork(background check,etc)they will hire you.

This is a very good unionized paying job with a 20 yr retirement at half pay.
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Old 05-31-2009, 03:21 AM
 
Location: Bradenton, Florida
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I just read today in the Navy Times that a felony conviction or drug conviction will DEFINITELY keep you out of the Army. No waiver, as in the past.
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Old 05-31-2009, 05:03 AM
 
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A misdemeanor from 17 years ago is not a big deal for most jobs, especially if that is the only thing that comes up. A 17 year clean record shows that you are currently law abiding (or really good at not getting caught). A felony from that time might be a problem, depending upon what it is and the job under discussion.

As Sinsativ says, not all background checks go back that far, although some do. Depending on the jurisdiction, it may not even have been computerized and would not even show up. Or if it happened in another state, the people running the check may not pick it up.

If the job app asked for "felony convictions" and your friend had only a 17 year old misdemeanor, I would check NO. If it asked for ANY convictions, I would check yes, but add in an explanation, or if you get to the interview stage, bring it up with the HR or hiring manager.

As a hiring manager, if somebody tried to hide something from me and I found out about it, I would not hire them. But if I was interviewing them and they let me know about a 17 year old "drunk and disorderly", minor vandalism, or the like, I would not even worry about it.
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Old 05-31-2009, 06:51 AM
 
23,368 posts, read 30,659,639 times
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I agree with fishbrains. It really depends on what the conviction was for and how long ago.

If you are applying for a job with a school district or law enforcement agency, they will sometimes even find sealed juvenile records, although those you are not required to disclose unless the form specificaly requires it. They dig back to your moment of conception.
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