A criminal record can have long-lasting consequences, especially when it comes to applying for jobs. Nevada workers who face this situation should take the time to understand the kind of information Nevada employers can get, and how employers can and can’t use criminal records to make hiring decisions.
Nevada limits the kind of criminal background information an employer can obtain without the applicant’s consent
Under Nevada law, without the applicant’s consent most employers can only find out about a job applicant’s past convictions and any ongoing criminal proceedings, including probation and parole. Arrest information isn’t available without a full background check.
There’s one important exception that captures a lot of job applicants in Las Vegas: employers in the gaming industry can access sealed criminal records, bankruptcy information, and civil judgment records to verify that applicants for gaming licenses or registrations as gaming employees have not broken any gaming laws or otherwise have potentially disqualifying pasts.
Under both federal and state law, an employer can get a full criminal background check only if an applicant consents. Getting a full report requires the submittal of complete fingerprint card. A full background report reveals numerous details about the applicant, including arrests, charges, and incarceration details.
When an employment decision on an applicant’s criminal history may be unlawful
Just because an employer discovers that an applicant has committed a crime doesn’t necessarily mean that the applicant will be turned away. Job applicants can improve their chances simply by being honest about their past, so their background checks don’t turn up surprises that call into question the applicant’s candor. Federal law protects applicants who get turned away for erroneous background check results, and also provides recourse for some applicants who are unfairly rejected on the basis of their history.
The federal Fair Credit Reporting Act (FCRA), 15 U.S.C. 1681, imposes requirements on employers who wish to obtain and use criminal background checks. In addition to getting an applicant’s written consent to conduct a criminal background check, the FCRA also requires the employer to notify the applicant if it will base its employment decision on the report, provide the applicant with a copy of the report, and notify the applicant if a final decision was based on the report. The job applicant has the opportunity to dispute the content of a report if it contains errors, as is unfortunately quite common.
In the right circumstances, denying employment on the basis of a criminal background check can violate federal discrimination law. Under Title VII of the Civil Rights Act of 1964, an employer cannot base employment decisions on criminal background checks if doing so would significantly disadvantage a racial group and they are not “job related and consistent with business necessity.” The federal Equal Opportunity Employment Commission (EEOC) advises employers to consider the nature of the crime, when it occurred, and whether it is related to the job in question, and also give the applicant a chance to explain the record. An employer also needs to apply the same standard to all applicants with similar criminal histories. The EEOC further cautions employers against relying on arrest records, which in and of themselves are not proof that the applicant has broken the law, without further investigation.
If in doubt, an attorney can help
At Greenman Goldberg Raby Martinez we work hard to help our clients thrive. If you are concerned about how mistakes from your past could affect your job prospects, our attorneys can help you find a way to put them in the best light and protect yourself from unlawful behavior by employers. To speak to an attorney call us today at 702-388-4476, or reach us through our contact page.