How theft convictions affect applying for a job in Michigan

One of the most nerve-wracking parts of a job application is providing information about your criminal history. If you are considered for a position, but the hiring company discovers convictions on your background check, you may lose your opportunity. Of course, this is one of the consequences of having blemishes on your record, but it’s especially challenging to land a new job for those facing or convicted of theft charges. 

To overcome this challenge and have a better chance at qualifying for a new position, you should work with a Lansing criminal defense attorney who cares about you and your case. Not only can they help minimize the severity of your crimes, but they should also know how to expunge your theft conviction from your record.

You have legal protections under the law 

If you are one of the hundreds of thousands of Michiganders with a criminal conviction, remember that you have certain rights under the law during the hiring process. Both state and federal laws have strict guidelines that employers must follow regarding the use of information found on record searches when making a hiring decision. Michigan, in particular, protects applicants with prior misdemeanors. Unfortunately, though, companies can still inquire about previous theft convictions and felonious crimes.

Those who have been charged with theft need a skilled lawyer to build a solid legal defense. At Coontz Law, we have the training and in-depth understanding of these laws. In addition, we know what is at risk should you be convicted. From convincing prosecutors to pursue lesser charges to having your case dismissed altogether from lack of evidence, we will explore every legal avenue to get the best possible outcome for your circumstances. 

Hiring discrimination against those with criminal histories is illegal

Title VII of the Civil Rights Act of 1964 provides legal safeguards for workers and applicants from being discriminated against throughout the employment process. Specifically, The Equal Employment Opportunity Commission (EEOC) provides this guidance to those employers who choose to disqualify candidates because of criminal history without acting in a discriminatory manner. 

Businesses must consider the following before making an adverse hiring decision based on previous or current theft charges and other crimes:

  • The nature of the job being filled
  • The type of offense committed and the severity of it
  • What kind of supervision will the current or potential employee have with their coworkers
  • How long ago the violation occurred and if the sentence has been completed

Current EEOC requirements for employers also include allowing the employee/applicant to explain the circumstances of their conviction. In addition, they must also allow those with prior criminal charges to demonstrate why they shouldn’t be passed over for the job and supply any additional information that would help support this assertion.

Additionally, the state’s Department of Civil rights has supplied further guidance for employers regarding their hiring practices. For example, the Pre-Employment Inquiry Guide includes best practices regarding interview questions seeking information about a candidate’s prior criminal history. It also prohibits automatically disqualifying those with prior convictions. 

Michigan’s latest expungement law may help remove your theft conviction

If you have a previous theft conviction, Michigan’s recently enacted Clean Slate expungement laws may provide a way to remove this from your record. These laws are complicated, but we at Coontz Law have committed ourselves to learning all the ins and outs of them. Our founder, Dustyn Coontz, has presented on the law to other attorneys, created a (very complicated) flow chart for determining eligibility, and is working on putting together a DIY expungement eligibility form based on these complex laws. 

The purpose of expungement is to provide relief to those who’ve made some mistakes in the past so they don’t have to pay for it for the rest of their lives. This includes the financial struggle that often follows those with a criminal record because they are hindered from obtaining gainful employment or secure housing. It also makes it illegal for an employer to ask about previous misdemeanor arrests that didn’t result in a conviction.

Find out more about expunging your Lansing theft charge

If you already have a theft conviction on your record or are currently facing charges, working with an experienced criminal defense attorney is vital. Your future opportunities in life depend on the outcome of your case. 

At Coontz Law, we know all too well the impact of a criminal record on an individual’s career goals. Trust our team to use every resource we have available to build a strong defense on your behalf. We have successfully represented clients charged with theft and other related crimes throughout the Lansing area. So don’t hesitate and contact Coontz Law today to set up a consultation!