Moore & Associates are Houston, Texas employment law attorneys who can help you protect your rights if you are facing a criminal background check or if a prospective employer is running a credit report. There are limits to what a prospective employer can request when gathering information about your criminal history and credit history. What are your rights if an employer is asking to conduct a background check?
Background checks in Texas are subject to the Fair Credit Reporting Act Laws. Employers are generally only able to look back into your credit and criminal history 7 years, unless you’ll be making over $75,000 a year. If you’ll be making more than $75,000 a year, employers can look back at your criminal records from the time you turned 18. There are also some exceptions for the seven-year rule. If you are trying to be hired as a delivery driver, or in certain other professions, your employer may be entitled to take a longer criminal history.
In general, the law tries to balance the rights of individuals who have served their time and the rights of employers to protect their legitimate business interests. If your potential employer wants to conduct a background check, the employer must inform you in writing. If you are facing a criminal background check or credit check, and have concerns, it can be helpful to know your rights and to understand when employers can deny you employment based on their discoveries. Moore & Associates are employment law attorneys who can help protect your rights in Houston, Texas if you have been illegally been denied employment. In some cases, individuals have successfully filed discrimination lawsuits against employers who were using criminal background checks to discriminate against potential hires based on race. Read below to learn more.
Federal Laws Protecting Individuals with Criminal Records in Houston, Texas
If you have a criminal record, you might be understandably nervous about the criminal background check aspect of applying for a job. Anything your employer uncovers during a criminal background check could be potentially used in hiring decisions in private sector jobs. Texas law doesn’t offer any protections to individuals in this regard. However, there are steps you can take if you have a criminal record to protect your rights. First, an employer must always disclose in writing if they intend to perform a criminal background check. If you know that the background check will uncover your record, you may want to speak to your point of contact in the company about what happened and about what you have done to turn your life around since your conviction. Sometimes disclosing your story can be a strength rather than a weakness. If you are concerned about whether you should disclose this information, Moore & Associates are employment law attorneys in Houston, Texas who may be able to assist you.
In some cases, you may also have the right to expunge certain crimes from your record. You may want to contact a lawyer who may be able to assist you with the expungement process. If you can get certain convictions expunged, it may be in your best interests to do so.
Finally, the Civil Rights Act may offer you certain protections. This act prohibits discrimination on the base of race. Thanks to recent activist work, many employers and the public are highly aware that the incarceration rates for African Americans exceeds that of the general population. When employers conduct criminal background checks, and use the information for hiring practices, the employer may be required to justify how a not hiring an applicant (based on a criminal record) protects the company’s legitimate business interests. Factors like the seriousness of your crime, the time since the crime took place, and the kind of job you are applying for might be weighed when determining whether your criminal background should affect hiring practices. If you believe you have faced discrimination because of a criminal background check, consider reaching out to the employment law attorney at Moore & Associates in Houston, Texas today. Our firm can review your situation and help you protect your rights.
Can You Be Denied a Job Due to Bad Credit?
Employers may also conduct a credit check during the hiring process. If you have bad credit due to a bankruptcy or due to non-payment of bills, you may be concerned about whether your bad credit can affect your ability to get the job. If you are trying to get a job at a bank or in finance and you have bad credit, your credit history might impact your ability to get the job. If you are trying to get an executive level position or a position where you may have access to sensitive consumer information, your credit history could impact hiring decisions. Employers may also look at your history of paying your debts to assess how responsible and organized you are and to flag candidates who may pose a risk to the company. The good news is that according to Nerd Wallet, only about 25% of employers ask for credit checks for specific positions and only 6% ask for credit checks of all applicants.
How can you prepare for a credit check? First, pay all your bills on time and make sure all your bills are up to date. Secondly, ask for your free yearly credit report and write to the credit reporting agencies if you notice any discrepancies or incorrect information on your report. Being proactive can protect your information (and your credit score).
If a potential employer will run a credit check, your employer must notify you in writing. If you anticipate that your potential employer will see a bankruptcy or non-payment on your credit history, it might be in your best interests to explain the non-payments and explain what you learned from the situation. For example, if a loved one was sick and this caused you to fall behind on certain bills, your employer may be more understanding than if you were a gambler or irresponsibly ran up credit cards. Finally, if information on your credit report resulted in the denial of a job, you have the right to be informed that this information influenced the employer’s decision. If you believe you were unfairly discriminated against because of information on your credit report, consider speaking to the employment law attorneys in Houston, Texas at Moore & Associates. Our firm can review several factors to determine whether you may have been unfairly denied a job. For example, was your credit report accurate? Was the job in a sensitive position where you would be in charge of a company’s finances, profits and losses, or have access to sensitive consumer information? If you believe you have been discriminated against during the hiring process, you may have rights under the law. Moore & Associates are employment law attorneys in Houston, Texas who may be able to help.