How Can Employers Use Your Criminal History Against You?

We’ve all heard of potential employers scouring through social media profiles to find out more about the people they may hire, but what about criminal records? Just how much can a potential employer learn about you – and what can they use against you?

How Can Employers Use Your Criminal History Against You in Illinois?

About 65 million Americans have criminal records, and statistics show that about 92 percent of employers actually conduct criminal background checks for some positions within their ranks. That means it could be tough to compete for a job… particularly in this economy.

Illinois law clearly states that employers can’t ask about criminal records that have been sealed or expunged. They can’t ask about arrests, either, and even if they know about an arrest, employers cannot use it to decide whether they’ll hire you.

They can request your permission to conduct a criminal background check, though, under these conditions:

  • You must give written consent to a background check
  • The employer must tell you if they will disqualify you based on what comes back in the criminal background check – and they must also give you a copy of the report
  • The employer must notify you after they decide not to hire you based on information that was in your criminal history

Employers can check your record, but only with your consent. Further, they can decline to offer you a position based on what’s in your criminal record. However, there’s more to it.

Before an employer decides not to hire you, they are supposed to consider:

  • How serious the crime was
  • How long ago the crime occurred
  • Whether the job and your past crime are incompatible

If you have a criminal record and you’re having a tough time getting a job, it might be a good idea to see if you qualify for an expungement under Illinois law. If you don’t, you may still qualify to have your record sealed. A Chicago sealing and expungement lawyer may be able to help you leave the past behind and move forward with your life.