Criminal Law Blog
Criminal Law Blog
An increasingly important point with employers are background checks on prospective employees. Not only can employers interested in credit related information but they are also interested in criminal background information. There is a ton of information on the internet regarding background checks in Texas, and unfortunately there is also a ton of misinformation there as well. The purpose of today's blog post is to clarify some of the Texas rules regarding Texas employer background checks, and what employers can legally see.
The Purpose of a Background Check
Usually employers with the power to hire and fire have a large stake in their decision. Not only do they have a responsibility to do what is best for the company, or face retribution by their superiors and a guilty conscience, but they must also protect the business and want to hire someone who is responsible and trustworthy. If you were in an employer's shoes, would you hire an employee who will be working around kids and who has a record for committing a sexual assault against a child or someone who doesn't? If you owned a store, would you rather hire someone with a long record full of theft convictions or one without? Another good reason for employee background checks are the responsibility that an employer can face if something goes wrong as a result of hiring a certain employee. For example, if a truck driving company hires someone who has a record of driving recklessly then the truck driver subsequently causes damage on the job as a result of reckless driving then it is possible that the truck driving company could be deemed to have been negligent in hiring the driver and could be held liable for damages.
Although hiring employees that are less likely to harm a business and the avoidance of potential damages down the line as a result of an employee are good reasons for running employee background checks, not all people with adverse events or deeds on their record make bad employees, and unchecked criminal background checks can create a virtual brick wall in obtaining employment for certain people, hindering their ability to provide for themselves and their families. For these reasons and others, there are legal limitations on how Texas employers can use background checks.
Texas Rules Regarding Background Checks
In general, when an employer in Texas uses a credit reporting agency to conduct the background check then they can only go back seven years for a criminal background check, unless the annual salary reaches $75,000. In that case, they can go back as far as when the prospective employee was eighteen. Also, it is noteworthy that convictions when a person was under eighteen are not to be used by employers in a hiring decision even if they are found. In many cases, the are never found. There are exceptions to this general rule and the seven year rule is not carved in stone.
Exceptions to the Rule
If you are applying for a job that involves residential delivery, such as a mail/package carrier, or that provides in home services, such as a plumber or electrician etc., (there are many different types of jobs that fall into this category and they are not all listed here), then an employer is required to conduct a check for certain felonies in the last twenty years and misdemeanors in the last ten years. This includes convictions for crimes involving family violence, crimes against property, and public indecency, even if the case was disposed with deferred adjudication. The employer is not required to do this if they can show that a state occupational licensing agency has already conducted a background check for the same purpose, and the prospective employee is licensed by that agency.
When the Seven Year Rule Doesn't Apply
The seven year rule only applies when a prospective employer hires an outside consumer reporting agency to conduct the background check. If an employer does there own background check then they can go as far back as they want, due to the difficulty in performing background checks most employers tend to hire an outside help to perform the task, of course, that is not always the case. Government agencies are permitted under Texas law to conduct background checks all the way back to when a person was eighteen.
Arrest Records, Deferred Adjudication, and Probation
If you were convicted of a crime, placed on probation, or made a plea of no contest or guilty, then the employer will be able to see that on a background check. On the other hand, if the case was dismissed without any finding of guilt then it should not show up on the employee background check.
An arrest record is less likely to show up on a background check, but sometimes they do. Texas law does not prohibit the use of arrest records in an employment decision, but federal law makes it very difficult to justify doing so, and for this reason many employers don't use arrest records as a basis in a hiring decision.
Conclusion and How to Get Help
If you have a criminal history and you are concerned about it showing up on an employee background check then you should try to get the offense or offenses expunged or obtain an order of non-disclosure. This is not always going to be possible, and if you cannot get an expungement or an order of non-disclosure then it is likely that the offenses will show up on the background check. In such a case you should be honest with the employer, explain the situation, and keep trying.
If you are interested in obtaining an expungement or an order of non-disclosure then the Law Office of Chad Zubi offers a free consultation and you can make an appointment by calling 832-777-8924 or by emailing firstname.lastname@example.org.
Most people don't know that a charge of shoplifting can be a felony or a misdemeanor depending on the value of the goods taken from the store. If you or a loved one has been charged with shoplifting then it is important to understand the laws surrounding the charge, where they can be found, and to have a qualified attorney working on your case. Call Chad Zubi for a free and confidential consultation.
Laws on Shoplifting in Texas
The state of Texas considers shoplifting to be a form of theft and the laws regarding the crime are found in Title 7, Chapter 31 of the Texas Penal Code. In general, theft is committed when a person "unlawfully takes or appropriates property with the intent to deprive the true owner of that property." If you have the owner's consent then you may not have committed theft, also, if you accept or take something and you know is stolen then you can be liable for theft. There are various other examples of theft like changing price tags at a store to pay a lower price, writing a bad check, or simply taking something from a store without paying for it. There is no such thing as a five finger discount.
Punishments for Shoplifting in Texas
The punishment for shoplifting in Texas can vary dramatically depending on the value of the goods taken and if the crime charged is a felony or misdemeanor. The punishment can vary from a class C misdemeanor (when the value of the goods taken were under $50) punishable by a fine of up to $500 all the way up to a first degree felony (when the goods taken were valued over $200,000) which carries a punishment of up to $10,000 in fines and 5-99 years in jail. If you are a minor then your parent or guardian could also be liable for significant monetary damages and if you are an adult then you could also be liable yourself for expensive monetary damages. It is important to consult with a criminal defense attorney to assess what exactly you are facing in your specific case and to try to minimize any consequences.
Handling the Charges in Your Shoplifting Case
If you or a loved one has been charged with shoplifting then it is important to understand any legal defenses to the crime that you may have. A dismissal or a lower charge may be obtainable with the help of an experienced criminal defense attorney like Chad Zubi. The ultimate goal is dismissal, but Chad Zubi may also be able to get the charges reduced, helping to avoid jail time, by working out a plea bargain with the prosecutor. A plea bargain is when in exchange for a plea of guilty to a lesser charge, the prosecutor lowers the charge or punishment. This is beneficial to the prosecutor because there will be no need for a trial. Each case is unique so call today for your free case evaluation. It is possible that some cases will go to trial and the best strategy for that depends on the specific facts of the case.
Dismissal is sometimes a possibility if you qualify for a pretrial diversion program offered in some counties. Pretrial diversion programs are designed for first time offenders of low level crimes and the offender has to complete certain requirements, such as counseling, or community service for a period of time and if all of the requirements are met then the case will be dismissed. Pretrial diversion programs can also lead to a person being able to have the offense expunged from their criminal record. Expungement is when a criminal charge is completely taken off a person's criminal record and this can be very valuable in future job searches or educational opportunities where the job or opportunity requires a criminal background check. To find out if you qualify for a pretrial diversion program contact the Law Office of Chad Zubi to set up a free and confidential consultation.
You can see that it is important to have a qualified criminal defense attorney who is familiar with the law and criminal procedure to handle your shoplifting case. Don't delay, getting a criminal defense attorney is one of the smartest things you can do to help yourself get your life back.
For the most part, the handling of sexual harassment in the workplace cases takes place in a civil forum, and is no doubt serious. However, their is no criminal complaint involved. Of course, that is not always the case, and sometimes the behavior in question can rise to the level of criminal activity. First, let's have a discussion about sexual harassment claims in general and then let's talk about how sexual harassment at work can rise to the level of being a serious crime.
Sexual harassment cases in the workplace are governed by both federal and state law. Under federal law sexual harassment is considered gender discrimination and is prohibited under Title VII of the Federal Civil Rights Act of 1964. In Texas, sexual harassment claims are contemplated by the Texas Workforce Commission and can be committed by a male or a female, the offense does not necessarily have to be committed by someone of the opposite sex or by a fellow employee. Further, the harassing behavior does not have to be directed at a particular individual for that individual to be affected and to consequently be able to file a complaint. The TWC considers such things as unwelcome advances, requests for sexual favors, or physical touching of a sexual nature as examples of sexual harassment. Not every offensive act falls under the TWC definition of what may be sexual harassment. The offensive behavior generally must interfere with the person's performance at work or create a hostile, offensive, or intimidating environment. Simple teasing or isolated incidents will not likely rise to the level of sexual harassment as contemplated by the TWC.
How Does a Sexual Harassment Claim Start?
In Texas there is more than one way to report a sexual harassment claim. A complaint can be filed with the Texas Workforce Commission Civil Rights Division or through the Federal Equal Employment Opportunity Commission, there can also be administrative hearings that are held by an employer.
When is a Crime Committed?
As you can see above, thus far there has been no mention of jail time, an indictment, plea bargains, a criminal trial, or other matters related to criminal prosecution. That is because sexual harassment claims are largely civil lawsuits. However, sometimes sexual harassment rises to the level of criminal, such as in the case of sexual assault or rape. That type of behavior is more than the sexual harassment described in the preceding paragraphs, and should be reported to the police. Some other examples of criminal charges that can arise as a result of sexual harassment include, but are not necessarily limited to, sexual assault, criminal assault, or assault. These are serious crimes that can arise out of sexual harassment and can carry serious penalties, including jail time, having to register as a sex offender, having trouble finding employment, and not being able to own a firearm.
Have You Been Accused of a Crime Related to Sexual Harassment?
If you have been accused of a crime related to sexual harassment then you should contact a criminal defense attorney to mount a defense immediately; the consequences of such an accusation or criminal charge can be extremely serious and long lasting.
The Law Office of Chad Zubi stands ready to listen to your side of the story and provide a free consultation regarding your case. Don't waste valuable time, call and make an appointment at (832) 777-8924.
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