A criminal record has a way of limiting your future options. Even if you avoided incarceration and never let your criminal conviction affect your job performance, you might still find it harder to develop your career once there is an obvious blemish that pops up during a background check.
Federal statutes have rules regarding how much ongoing impact a criminal conviction can have on your future. Understanding how the law limits the impact of your conviction might improve your chances of standing up for yourself when looking for a job after a criminal issue.
Federal employment rules limit the influence of criminal convictions
There is no question that people of specific characteristics, like certain racial backgrounds, have a greater tendency to get caught while breaking the law and then to face prosecution and conviction than others do. The racial bias in the criminal justice system can lead to racial bias in employment, too.
Enforcement of a total prohibition on criminal records by an employer could result in unintentional discrimination against certain populations. To protect those disproportionately affected by the impact of a criminal conviction, the Equal Employment Opportunity Commission recommends that employers look carefully at their policies regarding criminal convictions.
Generally speaking, employers should focus their policies on protecting their business from work-related offenders and those who might pose a risk to workplace safety or the well-being of other employees. In other words, offenses like embezzlement or violent crime should have more of an impact on someone’s employment prospects than a non-violent drug possession charge or a shoplifting offense years ago.
How does Tennessee protect those with criminal records?
The state of Tennessee does not limit background checks for employment or have restrictions on how employers use them for employment decisions. While some states have clear restrictions, such as seven-year limitations on reporting many offenses, Tennessee does not. However, those eligible for expungement or expunction can remove certain blemishes from their records.
For many people, it is a better option to avoid a conviction than it is to try to push for their rights with a criminal record. Fighting back against a charge can help you protect your future career success and income.