I ask this because I am worried about my sister, who is facing several felony charges. I am a server tech, and I know my company won’t take a convicted felon. Are healthcare and utilities jobs closed to someone with a felony conviction? I went through background checks before working on IT projects for a natural gas company, and a nursing home.
A felony conviction is going to rule out the vast majority of desirable career opportunities. But there are still some options available.
There’s a movement that’s trying to ban the checkbox on employment applications that asks about criminal history. Wikipedia’s article …
Not sure they’re completely correct saying all decent jobs are prohibited to felons … construction jobs don’t typically have written applications and with hard work and focus one can do quite well as a tradesman.
Perhaps a better question is which jobs can be had with a felony record.
boffking, I hope things work out with your sister.
If it makes you or your sister feel any better, which I doubt, SD recently reviewed the requirements for President of the United States, and the road is open: http://boards.straightdope.com/sdmb/showthread.php?p=19031715
All companies that operate concessioner facilities in National Parks will gleefully hire felons. Even being actively on parole would present no problem whatsoever in some of the larger Parks, particularly Yosemite and Yellowstone. You can even commit a felony while employed, be convicted and serve your time, and be promptly rehired as soon as you’re released. Seen it over and over again. When I worked in Sequoia in 1989, there was a supervisor on the housekeeping staff who was one of the most severely mentally disordered criminals I have ever known. He and his roommate, who was also a supervisor on the housekeeping staff, ran a one-stop drug emporium out of their dorm room, selling cocaine, crystal meth, LSD, and marijuana. The roommate was reputed to have a sawed-off shotgun in his possession, although Park law enforcement was never able to conclusively verify this. Near the end of the 1989 season, the first supervisor pulled a bowie knife on a female subordinate and threatened to kill her if she wouldn’t have sex with him. He was arrested and convicted for this offense, and after having served his sentence, was immediately rehired for another season. After he completed that season, he went on to work at Yosemite for two years. He is now the general manager of a medium-sized concessioner operation in Blue Ridge National Parkway.
You can not get a series 7 license to trade stocks with any felony conviction. Certain money related misdemeanors also disqualify you
@drewder: That one can be difficult as it takes either capital or loans. Both of which felons tend to have in short supply.
That’s very situation-dependent. Being hired by a homeowner to doesn’t require a written application, and working for a small company may not , but around here working in the better paid, union jobs requires an apprenticeship. Those apprenticeships often do have written applications and are very competitive to get into. It is not unusual for the union to limit the number of applications - my son applied for one a few years ago where the union was limiting the applications to 10X the positions to be filled.
In any event, “ban the box” typically refers to asking the question on the employment application. It’s meant to prevent screening applicants out before considering their qualifications and banning the question in the application doesn’t necessarily prevent an employer from ultimately refusing to hire someone due to their criminal record. It does however, make it more difficult to refuse to hire someone due to a conviction that is completely unrelated to the job , as some versions require that the employer make a conditional job offer prior to checking the criminal history.
For example, in NYS , it’s been illegal for some time to refuse to hire someone based on their criminal record unless there is a direct relationship between the crime and the employment or employing the person is an unreasonable list. And the law lists a number of factors to be considered in making such a determination. The thing is if the question is on the application, it’s hard to know whether someone was passed over because of the criminal record or for other reasons. Just like if employers could ask questions about disabilities or require medical exams prior to an offer, it would be hard to know whether someone was passed over for a medical condition that was unrelated to the job or for other reasons. And by hard to know, I mean hard for anyone to know- including the employer.
On shark tank there was an entrepreneur who raised $200 salvaging window frames for a friend and built their entire business off that $200. Not saying it’s easy but it’s possible.
Virginia recently relaxed their alcohol sales laws. Previously, and business that sold alcohol was prohibited from employing anyone with a felony conviction. So convicted felons couldn’t get a job at 7-Eleven.
Now, such places can employ felons whose crime was not related to drugs or alcohol. Felons convicted of fraud may not do any of the bookkeeping.
I have a friend who works as an electrical contractor. He hires felons when he can, but they are less useful to him because they cannot get a security clearance, and therefore cannot work on any job that is on a military base. (There are a LOT of bases around here.)
I think a lot of the people supporting the “ban the box” movement don’t appreciate how many jobs actually need to know if an applicant has a felony conviction.
U. S. Steal Corporation, hah.
The problems with that from a legal standpoint have been somewhat addressed - getting training and getting into a union are harder for felons, and certain jobsites exclude anyone with a felony record.
In addition - not everyone is physically capable of construction work. What are they supposed to do?
Can you please explain me how those things works around in your country.
Here around you fill web form on local state police web site (links up to pan-european databases) to get a document which basically states “nope, hi is not in the bases” You get printed version at desired address at no cost. Most bases will (are supposed to) reset any felony related data after 10y.
Any civilian job that requires a government security clearance would be difficult if not impossible to get with a felony conviction, the clearance and the job. Mostly getting into the military is difficult if not impossible with a felony conviction. That is until they have to expand for some reason and loosen up the standards. Right now it’s not easy to get in.
The vast majority of the population doesn’t have desirable careers, just a job which pays the bills.
As mentioned earlier, the “ban the box” notion involves making the query about criminal record, if relevant, happen later in the process and the answer, it is hoped, be looked at in context. So those jobs would still require answering the question at some point.
I deal with this a lot in my job. I work for a NPO that helps people get off public aid and about 2/3 to 3/4 of my clients have felony convictions.
The EEOC has directed (through Title VII) that to blanketly disallow felons from applying is discrimination. This is based on the fact that one third of adult African American males have felony convictions and to blanketly deny them is racial discrimination effectively.
That said, remember many if not most governmental organizations exempt themselves from such laws or directives, so what I deal with is the private sector.
In reality it doesn’t change a lot, it just means you cannot issue a blanket statement saying, “Don’t apply for this job if you have a felony.” An employer still has every right to disallow a person from a job if the employer feels it is a risk.
For example, if I run a hotel and an applicant has a felony conviction for theft. That would be a good reason for denying him a job as a cashier. That would not hold up as a reason if he was applying for a dishwasher job, that was supervised while he was there. (One could make the argument s/he could steal dishes if unsupervised.)
Companies do get tax breaks an incentives to hire ex-cons so I find that it is useful to look there, though they are mostly factory type or warehouse jobs and those are becoming very rare.
On the flip side, companies that do hire ex-felons do tend to pay poorly so they may make up any potential loss through minimal wages.
Also employers are prohibited from using arrest records solely to determine negative actions (not hiring or firing etc), as opposed to convictions. But in reality they do this. One of the things we do when helping ex-cons is to go on the Internet and what information can be pulled up.
For example I had a client that had several arrests that he was acquitted for. But I can go to the docket at the county courthouse online and see he was arrested for those crimes. But unless I pay a fee, I can’t see the outcomes.
In theory an employer cannot use that information to “not hire” someone, but in reality they often do. And how could you prove it?
In today’s world there is almost never a case where you will be the only person applying for a job. So an employer can simply say s/he hired what s/he felt was the better candidate.
I have always eventually been able to help someone with a felony get a job, though it can take a long time. I think my longest time I can recall was just under two years. And you may not be able to get the job you want. You may have to rethink your career choice.
The best advice I can give the OP is to delay the question till the second interview. Often I find in middle to executive jobs, just sending in a resume (which won’t have criminal history) is enough to get you an interview. Then you can fill out the application after the interview when you’ve had time to explain your situation.
Carryon notes an interesting point.
Sure, one can wonder if hiring an ex felon is a good idea and blah blah blah…any reasonable person can see the many sides of the issue…
But the fact that you have EVEN been arrested for something?
THAT’S some serious bullshit right there.
You won’t be hired for any job working with youth at my church.