Does a conditional discharge affect employment?
A conditional discharge occurs in criminal court when you are found guilty but discharged without punishment as long as certain conditions are met. You still have a criminal record, and it will appear on background searches by employers. However, you can take steps to minimise the effect of a conditional discharge.
Comply with the Conditions of Your Discharge
A conditional discharge gets converted to an absolute discharge if you meet the conditions for a designated period. While you are complying with those conditions, you will still have a criminal record. Check in frequently with the officer assigned to check on you, and try to develop a positive relationship with him. If your employer learns of your conditional discharge, you might be able to use your compliance officer as a character reference.
- A conditional discharge gets converted to an absolute discharge if you meet the conditions for a designated period.
- If your employer learns of your conditional discharge, you might be able to use your compliance officer as a character reference.
Answer Job Applications Truthfully
With a discharge, you don't have a conviction. You can truthfully answer a question on an application saying you have not been convicted of a crime. You are obligated to tell the truth on your application, but you are not obligated to answer questions that are not asked.
You have to take the risk of telling your employer the details of your conditional discharge. That way, when it shows up on the background check, the employer won't be surprised. You can assure your employer that you are working hard to make things right, and part of doing that will be working hard for him.
Have Your Record Expunged
At the end of the time the court has set for compliance, you can request that your record be expunged. Depending on the nature of the offence, the court might comply. This will clear your record for employment purposes.
Kevin Johnston writes for Ameriprise Financial, the Rutgers University MBA Program and Evan Carmichael. He has written about business, marketing, finance, sales and investing for publications such as "The New York Daily News," "Business Age" and "Nation's Business." He is an instructional designer with credits for companies such as ADP, Standard and Poor's and Bank of America.