Yes, you can get a job if you have a felony conviction. You might not qualify for every job opening you apply for, depending on the felony, but it is possible to get a job after having a felony on your record.
If you have not yet received a felony conviction but are facing charges, you can work with a criminal defense attorney to avoid getting the conviction. They might be able to negotiate a plea for a misdemeanor. Many potential employers ask only about felony convictions, not misdemeanors.
What Information Can Be on a Background Check and How a Prospective Employer Can Use One
If the job you are seeking requires a background check, it could be helpful to look at what they can contain in our state. Iprospectcheck, a company that performs background checks for employers in Pennsylvania, offers this guidance in its “Pennsylvania Background Checks for Employment: A Complete Guide ”:
Pennsylvania has many laws that govern the use of background checks.
- Employers can only consider felony and misdemeanor convictions in their hiring decisions to the extent that the conviction is related to employment suitability.
- In other words, a Pennsylvania employer cannot refuse to hire a candidate because of a crime not directly related to the candidate’s ability to perform the job.
- Some experts suggest that Pennsylvania employers should not consider summary offenses when deciding whether to offer a job. Summary offenses are less severe offenses than felonies or misdemeanors.
- Under the Fair Credit Reporting Act (FCRA), which is federal legislation, a prospective employer cannot hire a third-party company to perform a background check on you without notifying you. Also, the prospective employer must tell you the name and contact information of the company they plan to use to perform the background check.
- If the potential employer rejects your application based on information from a background check report, the potential employer must first send you a pre-adverse action letter notifying you of that fact, wait a reasonable period for you to dispute any errors in your background check, and then send you an official adverse action letter declining to hire you.
- Applicants for certain job categories that require contact with students in Pennsylvania schools must undergo pre-employment background checks and reviews of their employment histories. These applicants will need background checks that include child abuse history clearance from the state as well as a criminal record check from Pennsylvania and federal authorities.
- Pennsylvania law allows a background check in our state to include identity verification, past education verification, past employment verification, a criminal records check, and a check of registered offender lists. Some positions, like education field job openings, require additional screening.
In some circumstances, if you got arrested for something more than seven years ago and did not result in a conviction, that item will not be included in your standard background check.
The FCRA guidelines allow all convictions to appear on background checks, no matter how long ago. Some jobs impose restrictions on using criminal records when hiring decisions. For example, some employers in Philadelphia are not allowed to consider arrests that did not end in convictions, no matter how recent or long ago they happened. Also, those employers are limited in how far back they can go when considering convictions.
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Clearing Your Criminal Record in Pennsylvania
It can be possible to clear your criminal record in certain circumstances. There is no guarantee of a positive outcome when pursuing these options. You might work with a criminal defense lawyer to get an expungement, get your records sealed, or obtain a pardon from the governor.
An expungement, if granted, would permanently delete specific items from your criminal record.
- If you have not gotten arrested or prosecuted in the past five years, an expungement could remove summary offenses from your record.
- If you got arrested for or charged with offenses but not convicted, an expungement could remove those arrests or charges.
- If you have not been arrested in the past 10 years and you are 70 years or older, you might seek an expungement of your convictions.
You would have to file a petition in court to start the process of requesting an expungement.
Getting Your Records Sealed
Parts of your criminal record are automatically hidden from public view. Sealing other parts requires filing a petition in court.
One must follow the process the Pennsylvania Board of Pardons outlines to seek a pardon from the governor.
Whether you want to fight current charges, negotiate a plea, challenge something in your background check, or try to clear your criminal record, the Law Offices of M.J. Snyder, LLC, could help. You can reach out to us today.