What can employers can ask about prior arrests that aren’t convictions?

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What can employers can ask about prior arrests that aren’t convictions?

In 2005, I was arrested on a class C felony drug charge for possession. Under TN code 40-35-313, I was placed on 3 years probation with the opportunity to expunge. My probation is complete and the County Clerk’s Office shows my case as closed with a disposition of  “Judgment deferred – no conviction”. I am now being prevented from getting a job. I wrote a statement pertaining to the above incident, but they are requesting a copy of the police report, a letter showing that I went to rehabilitation counseling (which wasn’t required), and a 2nd statement by me. Is this legal since I wasn’t convicted?

Asked on January 5, 2011 under Employment Labor Law, Indiana

Answers:

M.T.G., Member, New York Bar / FreeAdvice Contributing Attorney

Answered 11 years ago | Contributor

You gave them too much information and now they want even more.  Do they have a right to ask?  Sure, why not.  But do you have to give it to them?  No, unless you really want the job, which is no guarantee after they see the details in the documents provided.  What about the court's disposition sheet?  Will that do?  Maybe try that.  Otherwise, you may have to walk away from this job and learn from the experience.  What you need to do is to seek help expunging or sealing the court record AND the arrest record in the matter.  After you have completed the process you need to run a background check on yourself and make sure that they are both gone from your check.  Then you will be free to answer that you have not been convicted of a crime (even though you can answer that now) and you will not have to worry about a check.  Good luck to you.


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