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Are you unsure about applying for a job with a “criminal” background?

As a Pittsburgh criminal defense attorney, one question I surprisingly get asked a lot is about what people should answer on applications if they’ve been charged and convicted of a crime. Because all applications are different, the answer to this question varies; however, the simple answer is: always tell the truth. Not too long ago, Target made an announcement that they will no longer ask about criminal history on its applications. The company’s goal is to inspire more previous offenders to apply and work on successfully assimilating themselves back into the social order after spending time in jail. Target has said that although it will leave the questions about prior convictions off of applications, they still reserve the right to perform private background checks as they see fit. If you have ever been convicted of a crime, then you know what a giant leap forward Target is making for past convicts. Those who have committed felonies know that there is no escaping the question, but more and more companies and institutions have begun including "misdemeanor" on their applications, and that one little word has significantly cut down the amount of qualified people applying for jobs. When the question was phrased: "Have you ever been convicted of a felony? Explain." anyone who was ever convicted of a misdemeanor could honestly answer "NO." Then, with the country turning into economic shambles beginning about six or seven years ago, companies and institutions rightfully became much more selective with who they would consider hiring. Admission of a misdemeanor, or even a felony for that matter, never necessarily means that you will definitely not be considered for the job, but the question covers a wide range of people, many of whom are well-qualified for a job, but fail to get it either because they did answer "YES," or because they were too scared to fill out the application in the first place. Including "misdemeanor" in the application question made it so the applicant would have to disclose almost any crime. No longer is it limited to serious charges associated with felonies, but crimes like disorderly conduct and DUI can be taken into consideration by employers and questions about your moral standing as a person and an employee can now be called into question. But it didn’t stop there. Companies have gone all out and started including "charged" into its application questions. Now, anyone who has even been charged with a crime, regardless of the outcome, would have to explain what happened. It doesn’t matter if the crime was reduced to an infringement of a city regulation, or if the charge was completely dropped, you cannot truthfully answer the question without explaining what happened. So, like we mentioned at the top of this post, it’s best to always tell the truth. It’s unfortunate that you may no longer be considered for job because of a disorderly conduct conviction you received as a young adult, but, if you do lie and your employer later finds out, they will have grounds to fire you–no questions asked. Any type of criminal record can make it difficult to find gainful employment. If you have been charged or are going to be charged, it is highly advisable that you call The Law Offices of Gary E. Gerson. Attorney Gerson has been helping people charged with crimes in the Pittsburgh area for more than twenty-five years. Call today at (412) 281-3380 for a free consultation.

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