Regarding a disclosure of a criminal background, how many years do I have to go back to my employer?

I have 3 misdemeanors over 10 years ago. Do I have to tell potential employers about them?

Asked on September 4, 2012 under Employment Labor Law, Texas

Answers:

B.H.F., Member, Texas State Bar / FreeAdvice Contributing Attorney

Answered 8 years ago | Contributor

When many employers run criminal background checks, they get the report through consumer reporting agencies-- who are only allowed to report data that is seven years old.  If you employer uses this type of criminal background check, then you would be okay in not disclosing your history.  However, some employers do not use consumer reporting agencies.  Instead, they may have someone pull your history, just by looking at county websites online.  If he did that, then your criminal history would appear.  Dallas, Collin, and Smith Counties, for example, will list every conviction for a person in that county regardless of the age of the conviction.  If your employer feels that you lied on your application for failing to disclose your complete history, then you could be subject to termination.  The end decision is yours, but a better practice is to ask the future employer about what time frame they are looking at.  Another option is to get an order of non-disclosure if you history qualifies.  The convictions don't go away, but the general public are not allowed to see it, thus no longer impacting your employment options.


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