Looking for employment in Florida can be challenging, but especially if you are trying to get hired with a criminal background. Understanding your rights will prepare you to pursue your job search with confidence.
Whether or not your crimes have any relevance to the job you want to apply for, you may receive a request to undergo a background check.
Your rights mean your consent
The short answer is yes, employers can legally request background checks in Florida. However, it is illegal for them to misuse the information gleaned from your background check. According to the U.S. Equal Employment Opportunity Commission, it is illegal for any company to screen your criminal background unless their findings directly affect their ability to determine your ability to perform your job safely and responsibly.
Before an employer runs a background check on you, they must first notify you of their intentions and ask your permission to proceed. Once completed, they must provide you with a summary of your rights under the Fair Credit Reporting Act, as well as a copy of your report. If your background concerns employers who choose not to pursue hiring you, they must inform you of their decision.
Your interview is an opportunity
Making it through initial employment screenings and onto an interview is a major accomplishment. Utilize your interview as an opportunity to highlight your capabilities and skills. Answer questions carefully so as not to overshare unnecessary details about your past. Describe how your experiences have aided your growth. Talk about specific instances of success to help the interviewer visualize the difference you can make in their company.