One of the worst consequences of being arrested for DUI or any criminal offense is that the arrest opens up a world of obstacles for your future. If you are arrested and charged for a crime, whether you are found guilty or not, criminal charges are released by courts as part of the general public record. These can be searched by anyone on the Florida Department of Law Enforcement’s website. If you are looking to start a new career or just change jobs in the same industry, a criminal record can have drastic consequences on your job prospects.
Do all companies perform background checks?
In the US, 92% of employers run background checks on prospective employees. The chances of applying for a position at a company that does not perform a background check is extremely slim. These days, a background check is easy to conduct. It only costs $24.00 per search to search a name in FDLE’s database of arrests.
Background checks are a vital tool for the hiring process. Most companies want to know exactly who they are hiring, and many do not take the risk of hiring someone with a criminal record, even if the case has not been resolved. This practice itself is illegal except in circumstances when the position the applicant is being considered for is directly tied to the crime for which the applicant was charged.
If, for example, you have recently been arrested for theft and are applying for a cashier position, the company would likely reject you for the position. Depending on the type of job or industry you apply to, the company may be required to screen applicants and consider their record when making hiring decisions. Jobs in banking, the medical field, daycare and other sensitive fields permit employers to scrutinize an applicant’s record more strictly than what is usually allowed.
What can a company find out about me?
In addition to your pending case, everything from your marriage and driving records, to your divorce can be searched. Some employers may even check your credit score; the goal is to dig up as much information about you as possible that demonstrate your character, regardless of how misleading the information may be.
Federal laws exist to protect applicants with a criminal record, but too often companies illegally refuse to hire someone based on the fact that the criminal record exists. The Fair Credit Reporting Act creates guidelines that employers are required to follow if they use a third party company to perform background checks. These include the following:
- The employer must have the applicant’s consent to perform the check
- The employer must tell the applicant if he or she may be disqualified based on the findings
- The applicant must receive a copy of the report
- The applicant must be notified once the decision has been made against hiring
In addition, the third party conducting the background check may not report on arrests pending charges nor expunged convictions.
What is my employment outlook in Florida if I have been arrested?
Although so many people have made past mistakes, Florida law offers few protections for applicants and instead provides a key incentive for employers to perform searches. Most companies conduct pre-employment background checks to protect themselves against being sued by employees for negligent hiring. In Florida, legal protection is granted to those employers who conduct background checks. These employers cannot be found negligent in hiring if a background check was performed and there was nothing to indicate that the employee would cause harm to the company or fellow employees.
How does my case show up in a background check?
If you have charges against you but your case has not been adjudicated, your case shows up on a background check as a pending case. This shows the party performing the check that an arrest has been made and the applicant has been charged, but there has been no resolution. Arrest records within the last 7 years may be considered by employers who do their own background checks. Convictions can be considered indefinitely.
If you are applying to a new job you are not required to disclose more than what is asked. If you have been arrested for a misdemeanor or felony crime in West Palm Beach, Florida, you should speak with an attorney right away. Brian Gabriel of The Law Office of Gabriel & Gabriel has over 30 years of experience defending the criminally accused. Call 561-622-5575 for a free consultation.