A background check that uncovers a DUI conviction, or even a charge that doesn't end in a conviction, can affect a person's ability to get a job. Depending on how much digging the employer is allowed to do, an applicant's DUI charge or conviction could crop up -- and bring the hiring process to a screeching halt.
Georgia differs from federal law as to when employers can conduct background checks, and whether or not a DUI offense can be taken into account in a hiring decision.
Federal Restrictions on Background Checks
All states are subject to the federal Fair Credit Reporting Act (FCRA), which applies to background checks done by outside companies but not those performed in-house.
It's important to remember that the FCRA doesn't allow the reporting of criminal DUI arrests after a period of seven years. But it does allow criminal DUI convictions to be reported indefinitely.
If you make a lot of money, take note: The FCRA background check restrictions only apply to jobs with a yearly salary of $75,000 or less.
Federal courts have often ruled that employers can't deny employment to an applicant just because of a conviction unless they have a reasonable business-related purpose to do so. But in reality, it's tough to police what's going on behind closed doors in the application process.
Georgia's Laws on Background Checks
On the state level, folks with DUI convictions aren't so lucky. Georgia, along with most states, allows employers to refuse employment to anyone with a conviction record. Due to a lack of regulation, it's not uncommon for employers to refuse applicants with an arrest record.
In addition to official background checks, employers have gotten more savvy and often turn to the Internet to check out potential employees. Employers are known to peruse Facebook to get the lowdown on applicants, and could come across information about a DUI arrest that otherwise might not show up. If your friends comment on an arrest, you should probably delete it.
To Spill or Not to Spill...
Georgia, like many other states, doesn't allow DUI records to be expunged. So your best bet is to find an experienced Atlanta DUI defense attorney to help avoid a DUI conviction.
But if it's too late for that, honesty is the best policy. A potential employer might overlook a DUI offense, but you'll definitely have to show yourself out if you're caught in a lie. That being said, you might want to keep your Facebook profile and Twitter feed clean of DUI-related rants.