After a felony conviction, many obstacles will be encountered when transitioning back into society. Strangers, even friends and loved ones may always view you as a felon. In many ways, society will always view you as a felon too – even though you have paid your debt to society.
Often, while serving their time, people charged with felonies will take advantage of educational opportunities offered through the prison system. They can earn certifications or associate degrees to advance themselves after their time has been served.
Despite their training or previous work experience, many former felons unfortunately encounter bias when trying to re-enter the work force. Many employers will exercise their discretionary rights to the fullest when handling an ex-felon applicant. As such, it is important to know your rights as well.
Every former felon dreads the infamous question that appears on most job applications: Have you ever been convicted of a felony? Although employers are allowed to ask, they cannot reject you automatically if your answer to the question is yes.
Fortunately, under Colorado law, if your conviction has been expunged, you do not have to disclose that information. If you’ve had a crime expunged, you can legally answer ‘no’ when confronted with the question about having committed that crime.
Other laws have been put in place to help former felons secure employment and move on with their lives.
The Fair Credit Reporting Act (FCRA) is a federal law concerned with the background check performed by most employers as a normal part of their hiring process. The guidelines state that employers must obtain your permission prior to conducting a background check. Additionally, the employer is required to notify you if they decide to not hire you based on any information in the report.
The FRCA also mandates that “reasonable steps” must be taken by the reporting agencies to assure the information given is correct. Furthermore, if you contest any element of the report and that information is found to be inaccurate, the reporting agency must investigate further and disclose the errors to any company that has been provided an erroneous report.
In addition, the Equal Employment Opportunity Commission (EEOC) has set regulations governing companies’ screening of prospective employees. According to these guidelines, employers are to consider an individual’s crime, the amount of time that has elapsed since the crime, and how the crime could affect the job duties. The EEOC also encourages employers to allow former felons to explain how their crime will not negatively impact their job performance.
Despite education, training and previous experience, there are certain jobs you may be unable to hold after a felony conviction. Felony charges involving sexual misconduct, child abuse, or the use of a deadly weapon will bar you from jobs as a first responder, security guard, psychologist, attorney, or any job working with children.
There are, however, a number of jobs available to former felons and plenty of organizations designed to facilitate the job hunting process. It is important to begin building a resume – even if you have to take odd jobs to do so. Building a resume and making contacts can go a long way to getting into the job of your dreams. When companies are reluctant to hire you because of your criminal record, having a solid references who can vouch for your character and your work ethic can go a long way to helping them make the decision to hire you.
You can help yourself, too, by keeping a positive attitude, dressing for success, researching potential employers, and not being too choosy when that first opportunity comes along. Any opportunity to prove yourself in the workplace is a good opportunity. If you find it difficult to obtain that first job – the unemployment office may be a good first step to finding the right fit for you.
Contact Our Experienced Boulder Criminal Defense Lawyers
If you have been convicted of a crime in Boulder, it is important to understand how this conviction could affect your entire life. In some cases, an experienced Boulder criminal defense attorney can have your record expunged. This alone can open up numerous job opportunities, as you are legally not required to report your felony conviction on a job application. Contact the Boulder criminal defense lawyers at Steven Louth Law Offices today for a free consultation and review of your case. Call us at (303) 422-2297. We can help.