Overcoming Employment Rejections Due to Criminal History in Erie

There's a tangible disappointment that one feels when, after an interview, the awaited job offer never comes. Sometimes, it's due to a misfit in skills or experience, and at other times, the reason may be more personal.

For individuals in Erie with a criminal history, the latter reason often poses an overwhelming challenge. With this in mind, let's explore the dynamics of job rejections in Erie due to criminal histories and how an employment attorney can help.

Understanding Employer Background Checks

Employers often use background checks to evaluate the suitability of job candidates. These checks can reveal information about past criminal convictions or plea bargains that resulted in a criminal record.

However, there are limitations on what employers can consider. For instance, some states do not allow employers to check for arrests in the past seven years or for any convictions that occurred beyond this period.

In Pennsylvania, the use of criminal history in employment decisions is governed by specific statutes:

  • Statute 18 Pa. C.S.A. ยง9125: This law provides guidelines on how employers can use an applicant's criminal history.
  • Limited Use of Criminal History: Employers may only use an applicant's criminal history for limited purposes in deciding whether to hire.
  • Consideration of Felony and Misdemeanor Convictions: Employers can consider these convictions only to the extent they relate to the applicant's suitability for the position applied for.
  • Written Notification Requirement: If an employer's decision not to hire is based wholly or partly on criminal history, the applicant must be notified in writing.

Employers balance public safety with the rights of job seekers with a criminal record. The Equal Employment Opportunity Commission (EEOC) emphasizes that any denial of employment due to an arrest record should be based on an individualized assessment. Factors considered include the nature of the offense, the time elapsed since the offense, and its relevance to the job in question.

Practical Tips for Job Seekers with Criminal Backgrounds

  1. Be Honest: Always be truthful about your history. If an employer finds out you lied about your past, it could lead to immediate disqualification.
  2. Prepare a Statement: Have a prepared statement about your past that shows remorse, lessons learned, and how you've changed since then.
  3. Highlight Your Skills: Focus on showcasing your skills and abilities relevant to the job.
  4. Seek Assistance: Consider reaching out to organizations that help individuals with criminal records find employment.

Erie's Stance on the Issue

Erie, like much of Pennsylvania, has specific rules about when and how employers can consider an applicant's criminal history. Generally, employers can't automatically disqualify someone based on their criminal record unless the crime is directly related to the job's duties. As stated by the Pennsylvania Commission on Crime and Delinquency, employers should use discretion and consider the relevance of a crime to a job role.

For instance, a bank might have a legitimate reason to be wary of hiring someone with a history of financial fraud. However, if you were rejected from a role in a bakery because of a decade-old DUI, then the relevance is questionable. This is where an employment attorney in Erie, PA, becomes invaluable.

When to Seek Legal Counsel?

If you suspect your criminal history was the sole reason for a job rejection and that it wasn't directly related to the job's responsibilities, it may be time to consult with an employment attorney in Erie, PA. Here are a few instances when you should consider legal counsel:

  1. Lack of Transparency: If the employer didn't clarify the reasons for your job rejection or was vague about it.
  2. Direct Admittance: If the hiring manager directly states that your criminal history was the reason behind the decision.
  3. Pattern of Discrimination: If you've noticed a trend where only applicants without a criminal history are being accepted for roles, regardless of the job responsibilities.

How an Employment Attorney Can Help?

If you believe your criminal background is hindering your job search, consulting with an employment attorney in Erie, PA, can be beneficial. In some cases, employers may automatically disqualify applicants with a criminal record, regardless of the nature of the offense or how long ago it occurred. This could be considered employment discrimination, and an attorney can help you determine if your rights have been violated.

Seek Expert Legal Assistance

Navigating the job market in Erie with a criminal history can be daunting. However, it's essential to remember that everyone has a right to employment, and past mistakes shouldn't indefinitely dictate your future.

If you believe you've faced unjust rejection due to your criminal history, don't hesitate to seek out an employment attorney in Erie, PA. They're there to advocate for your rights and ensure you're treated fairly in the job market.

The experts at McNair Law Offices, PLLC are well-versed in employment law and are committed to championing your rights. Reach out to us at (814) 918-3377 for a consultation and let us help you secure a fair chance at the employment opportunities you deserve.