Getting a job with a record
Can employers find out about my record?
Most employers, except some government agencies, can't get information about your youth record directly from the police without your permission.
But in some communities, employers still find out. For example, they might talk to someone who knows you. This could happen even though news reports can't give your name.
They might ask if you have a youth record
If you don't answer, an employer might think that you have something to hide.
But the law says that you can't tell anyone that you're involved in the youth criminal justice system while your record is open.
You should think about how to answer a question about your youth record.
They can ask for a criminal background check
Criminal background check is a general term that people use, including employers. But there are actually 3 types of criminal background checks:
- criminal record check
- police record check
- vulnerable sector check
A criminal background check will show that you have a "clear" record if you had a youth record and it's been closed or if you never had a youth record.
You can refuse to have any type of criminal background check done. But an employer can insist that you do. They might even offer you a job or volunteer position only if you can prove that you have a "clear" record.
Sharing your youth record
You can share a "clear" record with an employer.
But, because of special rules about who can see youth records, it's against the law for you to share information about your open youth record with an employer. This makes it difficult to get a job if an employer asks for a criminal background check.
The law is less clear about whether you can share your youth record after you turn 18. You should ask your lawyer if you have questions about sharing your record.
Criminal record checks
You can get a criminal record check by going to the police station, filling out a form, and paying a fee. So an employer who can't get the criminal background check directly from the police might ask you to go to the police station and get it.
Police record checks and vulnerable sector checks
You can't usually get a police record check or a vulnerable sector check by just asking for it. An employer or volunteer organization usually has to make a request to the police and you have to give your permission.
There is more information in these checks than in a criminal record check. You should ask your lawyer about what might show up on these checks.
Can employers refuse to hire me?
While your youth record is open, an employer who finds out about your record can refuse to hire you.
They can decide not to hire you because of the type of crime you committed. For example, if you stole something, you might not be hired as a cashier.
Organizations can also refuse to let you do volunteer work while your youth record is open.
If you already have a job and your employer finds out that you lied about having a record, they can fire you.
Having a youth record won't stop you from finding a good job. But it might make it more difficult.
Once your youth record is closed, the law sees you as never having committed a crime. It's also a crime for anyone to share any part of your youth record after it's closed.
How do I answer questions about my record?
Here are some common questions an employer might ask you and suggestions about how to answer them.
Do you have a criminal record?
You can honestly say that you don't. Your record is a youth record and not a criminal record.
Have you ever been convicted?
You can honestly answer "no". Young people aren't convicted. They're found guilty.
Have you been found guilty?
- If your case is still going on, you can answer "no" since you haven't been found guilty.
- While you're still carrying out any part of your sentenceA sentence is the punishment that the court gives you if you're found guilty.X , the technical answer is "yes". But the law says that you can't tell anyone that you're involved in the youth criminal justice system. So you shouldn't answer this question.
- After you've finished your sentenceA sentence is the punishment that the court gives you if you're found guilty.X , including probation, you can answer "no". This is because the law says that once you've finished your sentence, it's the same as if you've never been found guilty.
- If you were charged and went to court but were given extrajudicial sanctions Extrajudicial sanctions are special programs that a young person can take part in as a way to take responsibility for a crime without pleading or being found guilty. They're sometimes called "diversion". They aren't offered in every case. They're usually only for minor crimes. If they're offered, you have to decide if you want to take part. If you finish the program, your court case is over and you won't have a youth court record. X , you can answer "no" since you weren't found guilty. You can say this even if you're still completing the extrajudicial sanctions.
Do you have a youth record or a youth court record?
How you answer this will depend on whether your record is open or closed. There are rules about when youth records close.
While your record is open, the law says that you can't tell anyone that you're involved in the youth criminal justice system.
You could say that you don't have a criminal record. You can say this honestly because youth records are not criminal records.
You could also try to avoid the question by asking the employer why they're asking or what they're concerned about.
If they keep asking, you could say that the law says that you can't answer.
Talk to Justice for Children and Youth if you're concerned that:
- you might not get the job if you don't answer
- you'll be breaking the law if you tell an employer about your youth record
After your record is closed, you can honestly say that you don't have a youth record or a youth court record.
Are you bondable?
This is a technical question that many people don't know how to answer. It's something employers ask to find out if anyone has made a claim against you for doing something wrong related to money or property.
You could say that you don't know what it means.
(Reviewed August 2015)