How far backcan employerdo a background check on you and can they not hireyou for a misdemeanor conviction?

UPDATED: Aug 23, 2011

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How far backcan employerdo a background check on you and can they not hireyou for a misdemeanor conviction?

I am applying for a job. I was charged 6 years ago with posession of marijuana in NC. The job that I am applying for is in MA.

Asked on August 23, 2011 Massachusetts


MD, Member, California Bar / FreeAdvice Contributing Attorney

Answered 11 years ago | Contributor

The efficacy and length of background check depends on the system the employer uses to obtain the information. Usually employers do not limit the length of time they go back but if this is concerning let's say a regulatory authority doing a background check for a license application, usually the laws require the agency to go back at least 10 years and if the crime is a felony, as far back as 18. Your employer will usually not give a maximum time period to go back but will review what it is given per its request for the background check. So if it is an FBI check versus a state police record check, your entire history, including this conviction and sentencing could be seen. Make sure you do not lie on your employment application if you feel this is going to come up.

IMPORTANT NOTICE: The Answer(s) provided above are for general information only. The attorney providing the answer was not serving as the attorney for the person submitting the question or in any attorney-client relationship with such person. Laws may vary from state to state, and sometimes change. Tiny variations in the facts, or a fact not set forth in a question, often can change a legal outcome or an attorney's conclusion. Although has verified the attorney was admitted to practice law in at least one jurisdiction, he or she may not be authorized to practice law in the jurisdiction referred to in the question, nor is he or she necessarily experienced in the area of the law involved. Unlike the information in the Answer(s) above, upon which you should NOT rely, for personal advice you can rely upon we suggest you retain an attorney to represent you.

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