Criminal Record and Job Applications


How will an arrest record or a criminal conviction affect my future job prospects?

Will I have to put my arrest down on a job application?

What does it mean when a job application wants to know if I’ve been convicted?

These are some of the most frequent questions we hear as criminal defense attorneys. Mistakes shouldn’t follow you for the rest of your life, but unfortunately they often do. Being arrested or convicted of a crime can have long-term effects on your job prospects. More and more employers are asking whether or not you have a criminal history on job applications. Even a minor offense can harm your job prospects. But this may be about to change.

A Florida legislator has filed a bill making it illegal for an employer to consider an applicant’s criminal record on an initial job application. Bill text here.  If the bill is passed and becomes law, it would keep any employer (who isn’t required by law) from considering your criminal history before determining whether or not you are qualified for the job. This means that they could not use a criminal record as an automatic disqualifier for a job.

Keep in mind that this proposed new law doesn’t apply to jobs that require a background check, such as those in teaching or providing child care. So if an employer is legally required to do a background check, this law wouldn’t impact that.

Too often employers use a criminal history as a reason to not hire someone, even though they are qualified and would be a good employee. This law won’t fix those problems overnight. But, if it is passed it would be an important step in ensuring that people’s arrest records or criminal histories aren’t considered by employers when they should be.