It’s hard enough to search for a job without having to worry about how your application process might be affected by a background check. However, the reality is that you will likely be subject to a background check that will provide your prospective employer with information about your criminal record. That’s why it is imperative that you do everything possible to avoid being convicted of a crime in New Jersey. A criminal conviction will not only result in severe penalties that potentially include jail time and heavy fines, it will also lead to a criminal record that could haunt you for a very long time.
If you have been charged with a crime in NJ, an experienced criminal defense attorney can provide you with a vigorous defense against the charges and fight to keep a criminal conviction off your record. However, even if you have already been convicted of a criminal offense, it might not be too late to clear your record of the conviction. That’s because New Jersey has an expungement process that allows individuals convicted of certain non-violent offenses to get their records sealed. This will have the effect of making the conviction unavailable to most potential employers through background checks.
Criminal Records Negatively Impact the Job Application Process in NJ
When you go job hunting, you expect that the application process will be difficult and will require you to compete with other qualified applicants. What you might not expect is that a single mistake in your distant past could keep you from getting a good job. Unfortunately, prospective employers will likely find out about your past mistake through a simple background check. Beyond that, living in the age of the Internet means that just about anyone has access to a wealth of data, including information about your criminal record. The end result of a background check, whether it’s conducted formally or informally, could very well be that you are denied serious consideration for a job that you’re perfect for.
The good news is that there are steps you can take to protect yourself during a job search. That’s because job applicants in New Jersey have legal rights when it comes to disclosing information about a criminal record. For example, the NJ Opportunity to Compete Act (also known as “Ban the Box”) prohibits employers from directly asking about an applicant’s criminal record on a job application. Moreover, you are also afforded a number of legal protections under the NJ Fair Credit Reporting Act, the federal Fair Credit Reporting Act, and Title VII of the Civil Rights Act of 1964.
In addition to being protected by both federal and state laws, you may also have the opportunity to get around a potential snag in the job application process by networking. Talk to your friends and family members and find ways to apply directly for jobs through career connections. This could make it more likely that a prospective employer considers hiring you despite a blemish on your record.
If you have been charged with a crime, or if you were previously convicted of a crime in Atlantic County, NJ, you need a qualified criminal defense lawyer assisting you. The experienced, aggressive criminal defense attorneys at the Law Offices of John W. Tumelty can help you fight your criminal charges and get a past conviction expunged from your record. Contact us now to schedule a free initial consultation.