In the Commonwealth of Virginia, a third offense of driving under the influence of drugs or alcohol (DUI) is a felony.
With a felony conviction on your record, how difficult will it be to find the kind of job you want and an employer who will hire you, even if you are a well-qualified applicant?
Understanding EEOC guidance
In 2012, the Equal Employment Opportunity Commission issued a resource for employers, employees and job applicants with a very long name: “Enforcement Guidance on the Consideration of Arrest and Conviction Records in Employment Decisions Under Title VII of the Civil Rights Act of 1964.” Basically, this is a resource that addresses the use of arrest or conviction information in hiring practices. The EEOC does not prohibit employers from acquiring arrest or conviction records related to their employees or job seekers. The main purpose of the Guidance is to ensure that employers do not use such information in a discriminatory manner.
Under Title VII, an employer cannot treat employees or job applicants having the same criminal records differently because of protected characteristics such as their race, sex or national origin. If there are exclusions, the employer must show that these are “job related and consistent with business necessity” in order to avoid liability. The employer must consider the nature of the crime the employee or applicant committed and how long ago it happened. The convicted felon must also have the opportunity to explain why he or she should not be excluded.
Protecting your rights
If you encounter problems with discrimination due to your criminal record, you may reach out for legal guidance. While a felony conviction can make job hunting difficult, you have rights to protect and may need professional and compassionate help finding the way forward.