Because OUI is such a serious offense, it can carry significant consequences. You may wonder whether it will affect your ability to get or keep a job if convicted.
The effect of an OUI on your employment prospects depends on several different factors, including whether the alleged offense occurred during your employment or in the past.
OUI during your employment
Massachusetts is an at-will employment jurisdiction. This means that if an alleged OUI leads to your arrest or conviction during your employment, your employer has the right to fire you because of it. This is especially true if your job involves operating an automobile, watercraft or aircraft.
OUI prior to employment
The rules are different if you are applying for a new job with a history of past OUI. Unless a past OUI conviction presents a prospective employer with a compelling business reason not to hire you, he or she cannot bar you from a job for that reason alone under federal law.
Employers must also comply with Massachusetts’ regulations governing your Criminal Offender Record Information when you apply for a job. Most employers have standard access to CORI, meaning that they can see your felony convictions for approximately the past 10 years and misdemeanor convictions for approximately the past five years, as well as any pending criminal charges. Prospective employers must obtain a signed acknowledgment form from you before accessing your CORI.
The purpose of these regulations is to give you a fair opportunity to reintegrate into the workforce following a conviction. However, if you object to a CORI request, the law does not prohibit an employer from taking adverse employment action against you.