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Background criminal search on a job application question.

Cleveland, OH |

If a job application asks about the possible criminal history of an applicant going back 10 years, can they not hire someone for something that happened outside of that 10 year period? For example, if the application asks "Have you been convicted of a crime (either felony or misdemeanor) in the past 10 years" is it perfectly legal and fine for the applicant to answer "No", if the only record they have dates back well before that 10 year period? Again, it is 2012 so if the application stated "...10 years" and the person had a conviction in 1996 would answering "No" be wrong or okay? And if they didn't get hired BECAUSE of a conviction outside that 10 year period, do they have grounds to contest the decision?

Attorney Answers 2


A conviction in 1996 is beyond 10 years so you do not need to reveal it on this application. The goal is seemingly to go back 10 years on the search.

In my area, criminal backgrounds entail the entire record.

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But if this is an at-will position it doesn't matter what reason is used not to hire you. (There are some narrow exceptions). In other words, unless you prove you were discriminated against as a member of a protected class there is no legal recourse for a failure to hire.

This post is not meant to: 1) contain my signature; 2) contain legal advice; 3) create an attorney/client relationship; or 4) guarantee confidentiality.

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