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Professional licensure limitations persist for ex-offenders

Did you know that many people who have been convicted of criminal offenses can have difficulty obtaining professional licenses? If you have been convicted of a crime, you may face administrative litigation that makes it hard for you to proceed with your career. Estimates show that nearly 70 million Americans have criminal records that make it difficult for them to pursue professional licensure. Now, experts are advocating for some of those rules to be relaxed so convicts can return to work after serving their time.

Legal experts say that about three in four American employers conduct background checks, which means that a large group of potential employees are unable to obtain jobs because of even a minor incident in their past. Professional licensure requirements often require extensive background checks and even fingerprinting, which pose an onerous burden for those who have been convicted of a crime. Even those employees who have simply been arrested but never charged may have difficulty starting a professional practice, thanks to current processes.

What is the effect of these background checks on employee welfare? Minority populations are particularly affected by the unfair requirements for professional licensure, largely because arrest rates are so disparate. In some jurisdictions - perhaps even some in Ohio - minority populations are arrested at a rate of three to one when compared to similar groups of Caucasians.

About one in three employees in the modern workforce is required to hold some sort of license - from cosmetology to law, medicine and other allied health professionals. If you are suffering and unable to obtain professional licensure because of your past, you do not have to continue to deal with this issue on your own. A qualified legal professional can help you learn more about your legal rights when it comes to starting your professional practice.

Source: Commercial Appeal, "Let ex-offenders hold a job," Eli Lehrer, April 02, 2017

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