Contrary to what people might think, ex-offenders still face employment discrimination despite the labor shortage caused by the pandemic.
For ex-offenders who qualify, expungement or sealing their criminal records might be the key to getting a job or a better job.
Employment Discrimination Is Real
Although the fact that Pennsylvania has lost 1.1 million jobs since the pandemic began and employers are begging for workers, they won’t hire ex-offenders.
There are resources to help ex-offenders, but there are no guarantees.
Do You Wish You Could Answer “No”?
Most employment applications ask that job-killing question that goes something like this, “Have you ever been arrested and convicted of a crime?”
Some ex-offenders may not know they can legally answer “no.” Under Pennsylvania's new Clean Slate law, the criminal records of many ex-offenders are automatically sealed. In fewer cases, the records are expunged.
Sometimes, however, eligible records are not automatically sealed. In those cases, people must file a “Petition for Order for Limited Access Pursuant to Pa.R.Crim.P. 791.” A copy of the relevant Pennsylvania State Police Criminal Record must also be filed.
Sealed or Expunged—What's the Difference?
Expungement means the criminal record is completely destroyed; no one can see it.
More commonly, criminal records are sealed under what is called “Act 5 limited access.” This means the public and most employers cannot see the records. However, law enforcement, officers of the court (including judges and DAs), and certain high-security employers might still be able to access the information.
Ex-offenders whose records are expunged or sealed are no longer required to disclose their criminal histories to employers, and the records won't show up in background checks.
Who Is Eligible and Who Isn't?
The Clean Slate law is black and white—and grey in the middle. Felons are on the blacklist, as are people who have committed:
- sex-related crimes
- firearm offenses
- crimes against families
- violent offenses
- unlawful paramilitary training
- other specified, serious crimes
On the automatic whitelist are:
- Second- and third-degree misdemeanors
- misdemeanors punishable by two or fewer years in prison
- Summary convictions
- Charges not resulting in convictions
Confused? Help Is Available.
While it's possible for an individual to file for expungement or Act 5 limited access, it is often advisable to seek competent legal help, especially if a professional license is involved. Criminal defense attorney Joseph D. Lento has unparalleled experience in assisting countless ex-offenders get a second chance. Call the Lento Law Firm today at 888-535-3686.
There are no comments for this post. Be the first and Add your Comment below.
Leave a Comment