Can a misdemeanor trafice violation make me unemployable?

UPDATED: Oct 1, 2022

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Can a misdemeanor trafice violation make me unemployable?

I believe I was turned down for employment in part due to 2 misdemeanor offenses on my driving record. About 7 years ago, I pulled in front of a car that hit me, so a misdemeanor for left turn violation and then another misdemeanor for failure to fulfill financial obligation. I had insurance at the time but I guess it was inadequate. No one was injured but the car I collided with was very expensive. The second one, failure to fulfill financial obligation according to the report was dismissed but still showed up on the background check. I have been trying for years to obtain meaningful employment in IT, however maybe I’ve been turned down due to these two misdemeanors that I wasn’t aware were there. Am I unemployable due to these misdemeanor traffic convictions?

Asked on July 21, 2019 under Employment Labor Law, South Dakota


SJZ, Member, New York Bar / FreeAdvice Contributing Attorney

Answered 3 years ago | Contributor

While it does not legally or officially make you unemployable, employment in this nation is "employment at will": employers may essentially decide to not hire someone for any reason that was not specifically make illegal discrimination (such as against someone's race, color, national origin, sex, age 40 or over, disablity, or religion) by the law, and there is no law barring employers from choosing to not hire you due to this. Misdemeanor traffic violations can be considered by employers. Since the failure to fulfill financial obligation can be taken to go to a person's financial stability and willingness to follow the law, employers may see that one as a significant contraindication, or reason to not hire. If they have other candidates to choose among, it would be the reason they hire someone else other than you. So this could be a very real impediment to hiring.

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