Criminal Records

Definition - What does Criminal Records mean?

Criminal records are documentation that contains any local, state, and/or federal offenses including felonies and/or misdemeanors coupled with acquitted, dismissed, or pending charges, and outstanding warrants available for access and retrieval by employers, individuals, and government agencies. Generally, criminal records fall within the purview of a background check, covering exclusive details related to a crime(s) and its specific nature. In the workplace, criminal records can often dictate an applicant’s candidacy for a job in terms of gauging behavioral characteristics that might be questionable.

WorkplaceTesting explains Criminal Records

Many individuals face the stigma of a criminal record influencing their competitive edge when seeking career opportunities. However, there is no universal bar for employment against people with criminal records, but depending on the circumstances surrounding the crime(s) and an applicant’s preferred line of work, certain industries and institutions enforce strict guidelines. For instance, the medical field, government departments, and financial organizations stipulate that criminal records are used during background checks to determine suitability. Often, colleges for law and medical professions will also check an applicant's criminal record to determine suitability.

While most applications list any felony(s) and/or misdemeanors(s) committed as a mandatory question prior to employment, applicants can be reluctant to disclose accurate and reliable information. In many instances, employers enlist the services of criminal record check companies to acquire thorough criminal histories accompanied by updated criminal status reports including things like prison sentences, probation, and parole. A criminal record also carries personal implications where special privileges and rights are compromised. For example, felons are generally constrained from purchasing a gun and/or exercising their right to vote. However, individuals can have these rights reinstated if they meet certain criteria per state law regulations.

The Freedom of Information Act (FOIA) provides essential criminal record data that covers individual rights and legal aspects for the mutual benefit of employers and applicants.

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