Nearly all employment applications require your signature to consent to a criminal background check as part of the screening process. So, it is only natural to wonder what that means for your future employment opportunities if there is a felony on your criminal record. Fortunately, blanket bans are illegal, which means an employer cannot deny employment solely because a criminal record exists. To deny employment based on criminal history, an employer is required to consider the relationship between the job sought by an individual and that individual’s criminal record.
In other words, yes you can still get a job if you have a felony on your record; however, you may be disqualified from certain jobs based on the relationship between your criminal history and the duties of a specific position. For instance, North Carolina prohibits licensure for some occupations when there have been certain convictions. The North Carolina State Board of Education is prohibited from certifying a teacher who has been convicted of certain crimes, whereas most occupational licensing boards have the discretion to deny licensure to individuals who may be unfit for the duties of the professional based on a record with certain types of convictions.
However, while certain types of convictions may disqualify you from employment in specific fields, thanks to Executive Order 158 which recently went into effect in North Carolina, your criminal history may no longer limit your employment opportunities with state agencies. Now, individuals can pursue employment with state agencies based on their merit, qualifications, and who they are today, rather than being immediately screened out based on a “checked box” about prior criminal conduct. This recent change has been a game-changer for the millions of North Carolinians whose employment may have been impeded by a mistake from their past. Now, many of these individuals will have the opportunity to be interviewed for employment with a state agency so that they can be considered for a position based on their character, skillset, and qualifications instead of being automatically screened out before anyone even considers their application.
In some cases, your felony may qualify for expungement. Contact an experienced criminal attorney for an evaluation of your conviction and to see what options you have for cleaning up your criminal record. However, even with a felony on your record, you still have the opportunity to obtain employment and build a promising career and future. One mistake may leave you with a criminal record, but North Carolina’s new law provides a step up to your second chance.