Ellie writes in:
I love your blog! It’s a great source of information and so entertaining.
I’m interested in becoming a PA (I’m sure you hear that alot). However, I made some bad choices in my past (6-8 years ago). I now have a criminal record. Not that there’s any excuse but I was going through a bad time and obviously acted out stupidly. The offenses are 2 misdemeanors and. here’s the kicker, a felony. I’ve turned my life around, and because of this, I actually work harder and appreciate jobs way more. I have a degree and previous working experience in theatre.
I’m not afraid to be upfront and honest about my past (without going into too much detail) if I have to. Should I even bother trying to get into the business with my record? Am I damned to a life as a waitress? Help!
Employers can consider criminal convictions only if it’s relevant to the job. Employers in California can review job applicant arrest records ONLY if (i) the arrest(s) resulted in a conviction, or (ii) if the applicant is out of jail but pending trial. Otherwise, arrest records are off-limits. Felonies, misdemeanors and arrests are reportable for 7 years. [Cal. Civil Code §1785.13]. Employers in California can NOT inquire about marijuana convictions that are more than 2 years old. Juvenile criminal records are also off-limits to employers.
So, six years ago, they can ask you about your record. Eight years? Nope.
That being said, I’ve never once been asked about whether or not I even have a criminal record, much less what I did. Maybe I just have an innocent face. Or maybe this is the industry that gave a child rapist a standing ovation at their highest award ceremony.
Either way, I wouldn’t worry too much about. Even if the question comes up, unless you committed an especially heinous crime, I doubt anyone will care.
- Check your own state for details.↩