Will a youth record affect my chances of getting a job?

Employers aren't supposed to be able to find out about your youth records. But a youth record can still seriously affect you when you're looking for work, volunteering, or even some student placements.

Questions from an employer

No one is allowed to share information from your youth records with a potential employer. They're not even allowed to say you have a youth record.

The law says that even you are not allowed to share the information in your own youth records. You are not supposed to tell people that you have a youth record.

A potential employer isn't allowed to ask you if you have youth records. But some employers ask questions about criminal records or youth records even though they're not supposed to. Sometimes they may ask a question that makes you think they're asking about a youth record. It doesn't matter what the question is. If you have youth records, you are not allowed to share that information. So, you need to be prepared to answer questions carefully.

These are common questions they might ask and ways you can answer:

1. “Have you been of a crime?”
Legally Correct Answer: “No.”
Even if you're found guilty as a young person, you are not convicted, so the answer is “No”. Only adults can be convicted.

There is one exception. In rare situations, a judge can give a young person an adult . This means the finding of guilt counts as a conviction. Only in this rare situation, the legally correct answer is “Yes”. Otherwise, the answer to this question is always “No”.

2. “Do you have a criminal record?”
Legally Correct Answer: “No.”

Your youth record is not the same a criminal record, so the legally correct answer is “No”. A criminal record means a record of criminal convictions. Only adults get convictions, so only adults can get a criminal record.

3. “Have you been found guilty of a crime?”
Legally Correct Answer:  If
your sentence is finished, “No”

The law says that once your youth sentence is finished, it's the same as if you were never found guilty. For example, if you were sentenced to 6 months of , during those 6 months the law says you have been found guilty. But after the 6 months are over, the law erases your finding of guilt, so you can answer “No”.

If your sentence isn't finished yet, the truthful answer is “Yes”. But you're not allowed to say “Yes” because saying that would involve sharing information from your youth records. And it's against the law to share information from your youth records. Instead, you could say “I have never been convicted of a crime.”

A youth justice lawyer can give you more advice about how to answer questions about your youth record.

Employers can ask for a police background check

Employers aren't allowed to ask you about your youth records. But they are allowed to ask you for a police or criminal background check. If your youth record is erased or sealed, you should get a “clear” background check.

The next steps are all about background checks.

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