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Will a Criminal Record Make it Harder to Get a Job in New Jersey?

If you have been convicted of a crime and have a criminal record, it can affect you in various ways. You may find it more difficult to rent a home, custody and visitation of your children can be affected, and it may add complications when you are attempting to find work. If your criminal record is adversely affecting your ability to get a job, you are not alone. Over 70 million Americans have a criminal record and may experience difficulties when seeking employment. For more information and help regarding your criminal record, a Bergen County criminal defense attorney can assist you.

Why Do Employers Use Background Checks?

Employers are within their rights to conduct background checks on any employee or applicant. Depending on what type of company or job you are applying for, it can be important for an employer to know if you have any history of certain crimes.

For example, if an employer is hiring a school bus driver they may want to conduct background checks on applicants in case they have a history of DUIs (Driving Under the Influence). Other crimes such as theft, assault, or sexual violence can show an employer that an applicant may not be trustworthy or have the values that the employer wants to instill in their company culture.

If an employer neglects to perform a background check before hiring an applicant they could be held liable for any damages or crimes that the employee commits in relation to the job. Going back to the previous example of the school bus driver, imagine the employer does not conduct a background check and therefore does not see that the applicant has a history of driving under the influence. The employer hires them and a few months into the job they get behind the wheel of the school bus while intoxicated, injuring or killing passengers. Because the employer did not thoroughly check the applicant’s history, they could be held responsible.

How Can a Criminal Record Make Getting a Job Harder?

While employers cannot discourage applicants with a criminal record from applying for a job posting, they are within their rights to reject an application because of a criminal history. Having a criminal record can make your job search harder for various reasons, including the above example.

Employers have a duty to their employees and patrons to keep the work environment safe and protect their property. Depending on the specifics of your history, your criminal record may make an employer unsure if your presence will have a positive impact on the work environment or if they can trust you.

Certain jobs require that the applicant has no criminal background as well. You may find it difficult or impossible to get hired in certain fields such as law enforcement, corrections, homeland security, etc.

How Much Can a Potential Employer See During a Criminal Background Check?

Employment criminal background checks will not reveal any juvenile records or expunged convictions. However, your entire adult criminal history will be available to your potential employer.

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