Lily Garcia: Good afternoon, and thank you for joining my live chat. I look froward to answering your workplace- and career-related questions. Let’s get started.
Bethesda, Md.: My spouse and I had a domestic violence protective order case and a subsequent divorce case pending against each other. How does this affect the job search? I am interested in knowing if companies can or do discriminate against the domestic violence perpetrator?
Lily Garcia: If there was a criminal conviction associated with the domestic violence charge, the chances are good that it will be taken into consideration by a prospective employer. If there was only an arrest, most employers will not consider it due to the proven potential for disparate impact on minority applicants. As well, the laws of some states prohibit the consideration of arrest records.
Stafford, Va.: Hi, Lily. How difficult is it to get hired if you have a criminal record. I have been at the same company for seven years and am considering a job change. I have an excellent work history and resume. However, eight years ago I received a charge of simple assault. I was ordered to do 40 hours of community service and take an anger management class both of which I completed successfully. I have not been in trouble since then, not even a traffic ticket. How will potential employers look at this when I complete an application?
Lily Garcia: It can be hard if the conviction involves violence or is directly related to the requirements of the job (e.g., writing bad checks if you are applying for a job in accounting). However, it is not impossible to get a break as long as you are honest with the prospective employer. If you are asked about convictions on the employment application, tell the truth and be prepared to explain what happened. Please refer to my earlier articles on the subject for more detailed guidance.
Fairfax, Va.: Hi, Lily. How should I ask about the salary? Should I bring it up or wait for them to tell me about my benefits?
Another question: I took a test when applying and when I did ask about the salary range they told me it was based on experience and that’ll get an answer by next week what should I expect?
Lily Garcia: Ask about the salary right up front if there is no guidance in the job anouncement. If the job announcement provides a range, open a salary discussion when you find yourself among the finalists for the job. I am not sure what you should expect to hear in your case, but it sounds like they are probably looking at the budget and trying to decide, frankly, what they can get away with offering you. You, on the other hand, need to get clear about what you are willing to accept.
Huntsville, Ala.: Hi, Lily. My husband and I made a move south a couple of years ago. To say the least, we are not happy and would like to move back to NoVa. However, I am pregnant (three months). I don’t feel comfortable interviewing in my state of being knowing that I would be taking two to three months maternity leave. Your answer will help us determine if we need to push the move back, much against my husband’s desire.