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Can I Still Get a Job in Wisconsin With a Prior Conviction?

young person filling out resume for job application

Many forget that incarceration is meant to be the start of a rehabilitation process for individuals locked away. After serving their sentences, these individuals are looking for fresh starts and ways that they can integrate back into their communities.


Most of the time, part of this process involves finding jobs so that they can become productive members of society. Contrary to popular belief, many jobs may still be available to those with priors.

Background Checks With Priors

The Equal Employment Opportunity Commission (EEOC) issues guidelines explaining how employers should decide whether a person’s particular offense may be of unreasonable risk. Before they completely reject a potential employee with a criminal record, employers must consider:

  • how much time has passed since the offense or sentence

  • the nature and gravity of the criminal offense or conduct, and

  • the nature of the job, such as where it is performed, how much supervision and interaction with others the employee will have, time spent working independently, etc.


Because of this, certain jobs may be more difficult or near impossible to obtain for those with priors, including in the medical field, police force, military, or childcare.

Wisconsin Law on Use of Criminal Records

Employers in Wisconsin may choose not to hire someone based on their criminal record if:

  • The applicant has a pending arrest charge that substantially relates to the job.

  • The applicant has a conviction that substantially relates to the job.

  • The applicant is applying for certain types of positions, including private detective or burglar alarm installation.


In addition, Wisconsin’s Department of Workforce Development has provided a pamphlet that tells employers to do one of the following if an applicant has a pending arrest charge related to the job:

  1. Suspend judgment until the case is resolved

  2. Advise the applicant to reapply once the charges are cleared up

  3. Refuse to hire the applicant


The EEOC also requires that employers give potential employees the opportunity to explain the circumstances before being completed excluded from the job opportunity.


If you have any questions regarding your stance after getting out of jail or prison, reach out to The Law Offices of Jason D. Baltz for assistance. Our criminal defense attorney will help determine if you are eligible to have your charge expunged and answer any questions you have regarding your rights.


Contact The Law Offices of Jason D. Baltz at (414) 375-0797 for seasoned and hard-hitting legal representation.

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