Can You Work at a Hospital with a Misdemeanor in Illinois?

Updated on 04/06/2021 / Under

A misdemeanor conviction can make it challenging to find a job because it’ll show up on your background check. However, employers sometimes choose to overlook a misdemeanor. During your job interview, be honest about your past and explain how you have become a better person. There are many opportunities out there for you, and having a misdemeanor isn’t the end of your world or your medical career. You may still be able to find work at a hospital with a misdemeanor in Illinois.

Can You Work in a Hospital with a Criminal Record?

Many employers, especially in the healthcare sector, run a criminal background check on their potential new employees. Healthcare applicants undergo criminal record checks as part of the application process and licensed professionals are re-checked throughout their careers. 

Having a criminal record will not disqualify you immediately from securing a job in the hospital. If you’re applying for a position in the healthcare sector, you’ll be asked to disclose past and/or pending offenses. Being honest about your criminal record speaks well to your character. Also, talk about your rehabilitation. If you don’t disclose your past convictions when given the opportunity to do so and your employer later performs a criminal record check, this’ll reflect poorly on your character and you might be deemed ineligible for the job. Also, it’s essential to note that if you have a criminal record and you don’t disclose it to the licensing board, you could be charged with perjury or criminal fraud. 

Does a Misdemeanor Disqualify You from a Job?

Even though misdemeanor convictions aren’t as serious as felony convictions, and often employers ask about felonies, a misdemeanor on your record could hurt your job search. Thus, you must know how to manage the situation in case it comes up, especially during background checks on criminal records. 

However, just because you have a misdemeanor conviction, this doesn’t mean you’ll lose your legal rights when it comes to employment. Besides, it’s not mandatory to disclose arrests that didn’t lead to convictions or misdemeanors that were removed or expunged from your record.

Further, federal laws and state laws limit how employers can use criminal records when making hiring decisions. 

The Illinois Human Rights Act prohibits employers from using job applicants’ criminal records in making hiring decisions. Under this act:

  • An employer can’t ask about a job applicant’s arrest record or use the fact that an applicant has been arrested to disqualify them from a job.
  • An employer can’t ask a job applicant about their criminal history record, which has been expunged or use that information to disqualify an applicant from a job.

However, it’s essential to note that the Illinois Human Rights Act doesn’t prohibit employers from using “other information” to figure out if a job applicant engaged in the conduct for which they were arrested.

hospital background check

The Fair Credit Reporting Act (FCRA) protects job applicants by ensuring the accuracy of criminal background checks. Background checks can errors, such as improper documentation of convictions, which have been expunged, and incomplete information, including failure to show exoneration of an offense or charges being dropped.

To protect job applications, the Fair Credit Reporting Act compels employers who request criminal background checks to:

  • Get a job applicant’s written consent before making a background check request.
  • Inform job applicants if they intend to screen them out because of a background check.
  • Inform job applicants after they’re disqualified because of a background check.

The Title VII of the Civil Rights Act of 1964 is another federal law that protects job applicants from discrimination during employment, especially during the hiring screening phase. This law prohibits employers from disproportionately screening out prospective employees based on ethnicity, race, or another protected class.

What Kind of Background Check Do Hospitals Do?

To protect human life, reduce legal risk, and preserve reputation and branding, most hospitals conduct the following background checks:

  • Criminal history checks. Hospitals try to weed out candidates who might be a direct threat to their patients. Thus, sex and violent crimes offenses are the top priorities during criminal history background checks. Further, hospitals want to make sure their prospective employees won’t steal from patients of the hospital itself. Thus, crimes, such as embezzlement, theft, and fraud are red flags, as well as past issues with drugs.
  • Drug screenings. Recently, many hospitals have had problems with doctors stealing narcotics or other drugs from storerooms or from patients. Thus, hospitals look for issues with drug abuse through criminal history screenings and workplace drug testing.
  • Civil history checks. If a healthcare professional has been sued in the past for medical malpractice or misconduct, this might be a liability for the hospital. Thus, most hospitals conduct civil history checks to find out this information.
  • Verification checks. Is the healthcare practitioner licensed with the state? Hospitals use professional or license verification checks to verify if their prospective employees are licensed with the state. Other verification checks that hospitals conduct include employment history, education, and references checks.
  • Exclusion list. If a hospital fires a healthcare practitioner because of misconduct, it will report that individual to industry exclusion and sanction lists. This includes the GSA Excluded Parties List and the TRICARE Fraud and Abuse List.
  • Sex offender registry checks. A prospective employee who is a registered sex offender will automatically be disqualified from consideration for any healthcare or hospital job. Most hospitals do thorough sex offender registry checks to find this information.
  • Alias checks. Is the job applicant using their real name? Hospitals check for aliases and use those aliases to broaden their criminal history search.
  • Address history checks. Also, many hospitals check a candidate’s address history, this helps them to conduct thorough criminal background checks.
  • Role-specific checks. Often, certain hospital background checks aren’t necessary for all workers, but they’re useful in certain circumstances. For example, when hiring an ambulance driver hospitals do a driving history check, while when employing someone with access to finances or sensitive patient information, hospitals do a credit history check.

How Far Back Does a Hospital Background Check Go?

The FCRA limits reporting any criminal arrests that didn't result in a conviction that occurred over seven years ago. However, if a job applicant is being considered for a position that pays a salary of at least $75,000 the limitations don’t apply. 

Illinois has no time limitation on how far back a background check might go, particularly when identifying any criminal convictions among prospective employees. However, an employer must ensure that the information is germane to the position and shouldn't use this information to discriminate against any job applicant. 

The Illinois Job Opportunities for Qualified Applicants Act was enacted to help reintegrate those with felony or misdemeanor convictions into society and offer them a fair chance at attaining a job that they’re qualified to hold. To protect your rights and to make sure you get the opportunities you deserve, work with an experienced criminal defense lawyer at Ktenas Law. at Ktenas Law, we will strive to defend your case in court and help remove or seal whatever possible from your record. To schedule a free initial consultation, call us today at (312) 756-8652, or chat with us online to learn how we can help.

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