Having a criminal record can stop you from getting a job, but there are laws about what an employer can ask about your past criminal charges. Read more about the connection between having a CORI and getting a job.
After the employer gets a copy your CORI or criminal background report, the employer can ask about the report only if he or she gives you a copy of it before asking any questions.
Along with the copy, you should get a copy of the DCJIS instructions for fixing mistakes on the report.
You should review the CORI carefully so you can correct any mistakes. Remember, most employers only get information about convictions. If you have dismissed cases, there is no need to tell the employer about cases that are not on the CORI.
If the employer asks you about a conviction that is not sealed (and it is not listed in mistake on your CORI), this may be a good time to explain how the case does not reflect who you are as a person. If your CORI is stale or has nothing to do with the job, you can explain that to the employer. If you have convictions, it is a good idea to have lots of letters of recommendation. See a sample “changed person” letter.
If an employer rejects you for a job because of your criminal record, he or she must give you a copy of the CORI or other criminal background report that was used and a chance to respond. If your CORI has errors, is old or has nothing to do with the job, you should explain that as best as you can to the employer. If you have letters of recommendations, you should point that out.
If the employer never hires anyone with a record, you might talk to or file a complaint with the EEOC. See Can an employer refuse to hire any employees with criminal records?
Produced by Greater Boston Legal Services Created March 2013