How do I answer employment applications if I have a convictionthat doesn’t show up because it is under the wrong last name?

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How do I answer employment applications if I have a convictionthat doesn’t show up because it is under the wrong last name?

I have a misdemeanor marijuana charge that occurred in 2000. However it is under the wrong last name. I have been told by employers that they did not find that charge. I’m not sure how to answer the criminal background question on an application.

Asked on August 17, 2011 Florida

Answers:

SJZ, Member, New York Bar / FreeAdvice Contributing Attorney

Answered 11 years ago | Contributor

You answer the question honestly based on what it asks. If it asks whether you have ever been convicted, then since you have been, you answer "yes." That's the legal answer. Practically, it may be that if you lie on the application, the lie will never be uncovered for the reason you give--it's essentially misfiled. However, if it *should* ever come out, the employer would be more than justified to fire you for cause on the spot; it is possible they might have have grounds to sue you for certain expenses or damages incurred in hiring or training you, such as a recuiter fee, a signing or relocation bonus, any special training they sent you to, etc., which costs they would have incurred had you disclosed the conviction and they not hired you.


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