Guns, Gams & Gumshoes

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Does a Criminal Record Block a Person’s Ability to Get a Job?

Posted by Writing PIs on October 10, 2012

In a recent article (“People with criminal backgrounds face limited job options” by Lindsay A Powers), a nurse, with a long, distinguished career, suddenly faced tough times (“My family life was breaking apart, and I made a stupid mistake, and it has cost me dearly”).  He had committed credit card fraud, and believes the felony on his record is preventing him from finding employment. “Once they see you with that glitch, they don’t want to take the chance on you,” he said.


Not necessarily.  Keep in mind there are services that help certain people with conviction and sentences prepare for job searches.  Such services help people with criminal backgrounds prepare for job hunts by helping them craft resumes to aiding their presentation skills. Also, people with conviction records can also talk to their church, lawyer or parole officer for resources to help them in their job search — sometimes a church leader, lawyer or parole officer might also know of businesses in the region that do not discriminate against job applicants with criminal backgrounds.

Job-Searches Services For Those with Criminal Records

Below is a list of some organizations that help people with conviction and sentencing records (click on link to read):

National HIRE Network

National Transitional Jobs Network

The National Re-Entry Resource Center (list of resources and articles)

Some companies, such as Goodwill, actively seek to help those with criminal convictions because they believe people deserve second chances: Goodwill: People with Criminal Background

The Fair Credit Reporting Act (FCRA)

Although the FCRA does not apply to employers who perform their own background checks, and some state laws offer more protection than the FCRA, this law regulates the collection, dissemination, and use of consumer information, including credit card information.  For employment purposes, the FCRA prohibits:

  • Records of civil lawsuits after 7 years
  • Records of civil judgments after 7 years

Also, although arrest records are public record, employers may not seek arrest records or discriminate against job applicants because they filed for bankruptcy protection.

Sealing Criminal Records

A person with a criminal background might also consider sealing a criminal record. Contact an attorney who specializes in criminal defense to discuss this possibility.  Below are several articles on this topic:

Can I Clear My Criminal Record? (scroll down page for pdf doc):

Expunging a Criminal Record

Other Articles on Employment Background Checks and Related Topics

Employment Background Checks: How to Know What’s on Yours BEFORE the Interview

How to Order Criminal Records

A Story of a Botched Background Check

New FCRA Background Check Forms Required (

Have a great week, Writing PIs


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