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  1. #1

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    Job Assistance for Misdemeanor Offender?

    Hello all,

    I'm new to this forum and, as a first-time offender, am looking for much needed help/assistance in finding jobs in the state of California with Employers who are lenient with their hiring policy for misdemeanor offenders. Any advice and pointers are greatly appreciated.

    I'm not proud at all of my criminal record and am so ashamed of myself for making the biggest mistake of my life which I'm now paying the price for especially in terms of jobseeking. I was arrested early this year for grand theft, but because it was a first-time offense, the charges were later reduced to petty theft misdemeanor. I was formally arraigned on April 2 and I pleaded guilty.

    Now I'm stuck having to disclose my criminal record on my job applications, and I have noticed how much it has seriously affected my ability to be hired by employers for jobs that I'm normally qualified for...or any job for that matter. I've been unemployed for over a year now. But I just made matters worse for myself now that I have a criminal record. I know of one instance where a company was ready to offer me a job, but I was ultimated denied based solely on my criminal record. Otherwise, I was perfectly qualified. And I've noticed since I've had to disclose my criminal record on applications, that I've pretty much gotten the standard, "Thanks but no thanks" follow-up.

    Are there any resources or list of california employers who will give someone like me (who is honestly remorseful of my mistake) a chance to work for them inspite of my criminal record? I really need to feel like a productive citizen again; getting a job and income will definitely help as well as boost my self-esteem and worth. Thanks in advance for any tips!



    JobSeeker


  2. Join Date
    Aug 2003
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    Criminal Record

    Hi JobSeeker.

    I came across your post whilst doing some research. I have joined this forum in the hope that I may be of assistance to you.

    I am an Advice and Guidance Practitioner in the UK, working with people who have criminal records. The advice I can offer relates to the laws of this country and the Rehabilitation of Offenders Act, so in some cases, you may need to check that it does not contravine any of the laws that you must abide by. Much of the advice, however should be universal.

    Firstly, when it comes to providing a Curriculum Vitae (Resume?), introductory letter or application, it is unwise to disclose details of your criminal record. If you are asked on the application form if you have a criminal record, it is essential that you answer yes. If the application then goes on to ask, 'please provide details' or something to that effect, write "To discuss at interview" if you only have one offence "One offence, to discuss at interview". This way, the employer does not have to opportunity to judge you entirely before seeing you. Another issue with providing written details is the confidentiality of your information - is the application going to be opened by an administrator or receptionist? - Is your application going to lie in someone's in-tray or on someone's desk in full view of people who do not have the right to that type of information about you?

    Now, the interview. It is essential that you are prepared for the question, "do you have a criminal record" or "can you give details of your criminal record"?

    In Britain, all you are required to do by law is to disclose the title of the offence, i.e. "Theft". If you disclosed in this manner the employer would be free to have damning thoughts about your motives. So.....

    Consider the circumstances behind the offence, what were the contributing factors to you breaking the law? What is different now, why are you unlikely to commit an offence again?

    As I do not have the exact details of your offence and the circumstances surrounding it, I will give an example. If you would like to speak more specifically about disclosure of your offence, please feel free to contact me via e-mail if you wish to speak in confidence or of course reply on this forum if you don't mind.

    "I have one offence to disclose. In 2002, I was convicted of being Drunk and Disorderly. At the time, I was heavily involved in drinking following the breakdown of my marriage. I have now stopped drinkning and have been sober for 12 months. I have come to terms with the break down of my marriage and am now eager to get my life back on track. I am not proud of my actions and deeply regret this offence".


    The principle that you need to apply is:

    Offence -> Circumstances (not excuses) -> What is different now?

    Disclosing a criminal record is never going to be easy, but getting it right make all the difference. With the example above, most people will be able to relate to the trauma of the breakdown of a relationship, and most people drink, and many drink more if they are depressed or stressed (it's a stereo-type but often true).

    Helping someone to understand that circumstances that could happen to anyone contributed to your offending behaviour and that you are not just criminally minded.

    Your body language, tone and expressions will also play an important part. Although you really should be embarrased about your offence and regretful, you should not appear to lack confidence, motivation or self-worth. Make sure that you finnish on a positive note - always!


    Everyday, I work with people who have criminal records, helping them in to employment and I work with every type of offender. I am not the only person in this world who is willing to listen and try to understand and appreciate that a criminal record does not always make someone unsuitable for the position for which they are applying.

    You need to remember that an employer should not discriminate against you because of a criminal record if it does not affect your ability to fulfill the role. There are exceptions of course, i.e. a paedophile would not be considered for a job working with children.

    I'm not sure if I've covered everything here that you need to know, but I have to rush off now.

    I hope the advice I have offered proves valuable, and as I said, please do feel free to contact me if you feel this would be beneficial.


    Regards,

    Practitioner.

  3. #3

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    Jobseeker-
    i just wanted to let you know that you are not alone. I to was charged with felony theft and then it was dropped to a misdeaminor. It was hard for me to to find a position I know was qualified to do but you think they will only see you for what you did. When I explain my charge I usually take responsibilty for it and then assure them you are not the same person you were when you committed that crime. Another thing I did, don't apply for any cash handling jobs. I usually try and get away from those even though it might not have been monetary they get leery when dealing with cash. Good luck, you will find a job soon and it might not be one that you like but heh at least it's something to start over with!!! Keep the faith!!!

  4. #4

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    Re: Job Assistance for Misdemeanor Offender?

    Well, sorry to hear about your situation. I am not a lawyer,
    but someone in a very similar situation.

    Two important things that you should note - in case you don't
    already know.

    1) If the question in the job application is "Have you ever been
    convicted of any felony" - Then the answer is clearly NO
    (Many employement applications calls out felony)

    and

    2) Make sure you start working on an expungement soon enough
    - even though it CANNOT start before a year after the conviction.


    Also, it takes upto 12 weeks to get the records expunged, and
    possibly more. So, make sure you check the criminal record
    yourself (after the expungement) before you boldly tell "NO"
    on the application - so that you are not surprised.

    A friend in similar situation

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