How long doI have to continue reporting my felony on a job application?

UPDATED: Apr 17, 2011

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How long doI have to continue reporting my felony on a job application?

In 1998 in OH, I was convicted on felony drug possession. I’m currently looking for a job and have found it more difficult than in the past. I’m thinking it’s the felony. I noticed the inconsistent wording on applications. Some read, “Have you ever been convicted of a felony?”; some say, “Have you been convicted of a felony in the last 7 years?”; and 1 has read, “Have you ever been convicted of a violent crime?”. Should I just not report it? I do not meet the requirements to seal or expunge. Is there a statute of limitations here? Can employers legally ask this question?

Asked on April 17, 2011 under Employment Labor Law, Ohio


M.D., Member, California and New York Bar / FreeAdvice Contributing Attorney

Answered 11 years ago | Contributor

First off employers in most states, including OH, can ask this question.  And they can ask it forever (i.e. there is no statute of limitations).  You might think it would be helpful to lie about your conviction record, but this is not a good idea.  Nowadays most employers run criminal background checks, so this would come up.  If you lie on a job application or in an interview and your employer finds out, it is legally entitled to refuse to hire you.  If you have already been hired and a periodic review background check turns this up, your employer may fire you because of the lie.  This is true even if you have been a good employee in all other respects. 

Are you sure that you do not meet the requirements for expungment/sealing? Double check.  If you do not, then your only alternative is to try and obtain a pardon directly from the governor.  At this point you should consult legal counsel in your area.

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