Docstoc

EXPLAINING YOUR CRIMINAL HISTORY AND THE LETTER OF EXPLANATION

Document Sample
EXPLAINING YOUR CRIMINAL HISTORY AND THE LETTER OF EXPLANATION Powered By Docstoc
					EXPLAINING YOUR CRIMINAL HISTORY AND THE LETTER OF EXPLANATION

Unde rstanding Your Criminal Background
Different places use different records. Many employers ask on their application if you were ever
convicted of a crime. Or they might word the question to ask whether you have ever been
convicted of a felony or misdemeanor. Typically, the application says you do not have to divulge
a case that was expunged or dismissed, or that was a minor traffic violation.

Aliases – has anyone used your name when they have committed a crime?

Reports Used

CCAP www.wcca.wicourts.gov
     A court record maintained by the court system when cases are filed in Circuit Court
     Updated when court evens occur
            Caution!
                  Easy to mix people up
                  May say more than you want it to
                  Easy for people to access and misunderstand

CIB (Crime Information Bureau) www.doj.state.wi.us/dles/cib
      Is a police arrest record AND is what the law requires employers to use.
      Are listed in cycles – a cycle is started for each arrest
      Updated when police or courts send info the state – Wisconsin Dept. of Justice
              Caution!
                    There is no legislation stating this information must be accurate – no
                      accountability
                    Sometimes there is duplicate information making it look like there are
                      more events than there actually are
                    There are fees to access record. The amount of the fee depends on who you
                      are.
                    Contains too much information, including personal information
                    Easily misunderstood
                    Includes expunged cases

FBI Report http://www.fbi.gov/hq/cjisd/fprequest.htm
      Good to check if you have cases in other states

On a side note
           Check your credit report. https://www.annualcreditreport.com/cra/index.jsp
            Employers often do credit checks
            You are entitled to one free report each year
            Get a copy and go over it with a fine tooth comb
            Clear up any issues on it
            Consider adding comments to it
   1.   Have SSN ready
   2.   Check box to limit SSN that show on report – protect privacy!
   3.   Have previous address handy if you have been where you are now for less than two years
   4.   Select all three credit bureaus: Experian, Equifax, TransUnion
   5.   Bypass the offers and go straight to the report
   6.   Answer the security questions
   7.   Read everything very carefully and take your time

Muni’s http://que ry.municourt.milwaukee.gov/home.asp
Milwaukee munis on website – other counties are not

Driving Record http://www.dot.wisconsin.gov/drivers/index.htm
Request a copy of your driving record from the Department of Motor Vehicles, especially if you
are applying for a job that involves driving. Don't be confused. An OWI conviction is not
considered a minor traffic infraction. Applicants with an OWI who have not checked "yes" on a
job application may be denied employment for falsifying the form -- even when the incident
occurred only once or happened many years before. The employer perceives this as dishonesty,
even though the applicant might only have been confused by the question.

Caregiver Law
Criminal background check will be at time of hire and at other intervals once hired
Applies to anyone in health care, nursing homes, or child care
Three groups of crimes:
              Permanent bar to employment
              Employment allowed if rehabilitated
                        Can have a hearing before a judge to get a rehab ruling
                        Employers are not obligated to hire you if rehab’d
                        See me for more info
              Substantially related
              Read off list of crimes

Bus Drivers – those seeking an “S” endorsement
              Many crimes are a permanent bar to employment

What to do about what’s on it
It is critical that you know what is on it and that you list every case you have when requested by
an employer. OR you could be denied an opportunity for employment. Don’t take this for
granted in any way.

        Expungement
                  Applies to court records only
                  Hides the courthouse file and CCAP record but is still on CIB
                  Issues:
                        Were you under 21 and committed a misdemeanor?
                        Are you off paper and trouble free?
                        Talk to judge’s clerk for information on how to request it


                                                 2
       Hiding Records
                  A judge orders a record removed from CCAP if the conviction is
                    inflammatory or immediately preventing employment
                  Need a lawyer to get this done
                  Must prove there is harm being done by the record being out there

       Record Removal
          o Arrests resulting in no prosecution, dismissal, or acquittal can be removed from
              CIB
          o Must file a removal request with the CIB – one request for each cycle to be
              removed
          o Does not remove a case from CCAP

       Pardon
          o Rare and not helpful

Unde rstanding the Concept of “Substantially Related”
         An employer can not have a blanket policy that anyone with a criminal record will not
           be hired by that company.
         An employer may ask you if you have any pending charges or convictions as long as
           they make it clear that only offenses that are substantially related may be considered.
         An employer may only refuse to hire a qualified applicant because of a conviction that
           substantially relates to the job – if the offense is upsetting that does not count!!
         The law does not define this
         Applies to labor organizations, employers, employment or licensing agencies
         Look at the offense: what was it, where did it happen, when did it happen?
         Now look at the job duties…

If you think you have been discriminated against:

Discrimination includes refusing to hire someone because of
    An arrest record
    Conviction
    Pending charge

http://www.dwd.state.wi.us/er/discrimination_civil_rights/how_to_file_cr_complaint.htm

see 4 page handout from DWD


Great website to review for even more details on this stuff:
http://www.privacyrights.org/fs/fs16-bck.htm




                                                3
The Letter of Explanation
What it is
    Explanation of criminal history
    Accepting responsibility for choices
    Discusses lessons learned from past choices
    An opportunity for you to present yourself in a positive light and to not be defined by
       your past

Why to use it
   HR perspective – they want to find “an out” if they know you have a record
   Trash – try to prevent the app from being tossed out
   Do not put “will discuss in interview on a job application”
   Take control of your job search
   Increase chances of interview or hiring
   A way to get employers to get to know you

When to use it
   Filling out a job application
   To prepare for how you will verbally explain your history in an interview
   Give to a potential employer in an interview after you’ve talked about it

What to say in it
   The complete truth
   Use soft, positive words
   Use your own voice
   Give employer respect and honesty
   Tell them that when they do a background check they will find things
   Tell them what they will find
   Accept responsibility for choices
   Explained any lessons learned, classes taken, new insights, etc
   Talk about what makes you special – why should they hire you?
   Tell them you are excited about an opportunity to work with them and you look forward
       to meeting with them

What not to do:
            Say too much about the offense
            Take up more than one page
            Make excuses for choices
            Pass blame
            Create/show a victim mentality



Show off two examples




                                               4

				
DOCUMENT INFO