Contrary to popular belief, there are plenty of jobs for felons available, but unfortunately, there are also a lot of jobs that felons can’t get.
Major Points Covered in this Article:
- Jobs that are Totally Off-limits to Felons
- How a Felony Can Keep You from Obtaining Certain Jobs
- Restrictions on Hiring
- Collateral Consequences
- Hiring a Felon – The Benefits to the Employer
One Agency that is Totally Off-limits to Felons
While opportunities are available for felons, some jobs are off-limits. If you are seeking employment, for example, do not even try applying to the Federal Bureau of Investigation. The governmental agency simply will not review the applications or resumes of felons. However, that does not mean you cannot apply to other agencies within the state or federal government. You simply cannot obtain any of the jobs that are offered by the FBI.
Also, opportunities are fewer in white-collar jobs for felons than they are in the trades or construction. Job experts have discovered that white-collar employers have a harder time hiring a felon than employers who are involved in the blue-collar trades. That does not mean you cannot obtain a white collar job however, it just means that your chances in the trades and construction are more promising.
However, that being said, it still is against the law for an employer to refuse to hire you because you are a felon. One law in Minnesota, known as the Criminal Offenders Rehabilitation Act, supports job seekers with criminal convictions. According to the Act, employers must consider you not as a felon but as an individual.
How Your Felony Can Keep You from Obtaining Certain Jobs
Still, some places, as already indicated, will not hire people with felony convictions in their history, and they are in their rights, legally, to do so. Following are a few examples:
- For instance, if your felony was related to the use of a firearms charge, you cannot obtain employment in law enforcement or security or at any place that sells and retails firearms.
- If you were convicted of an offense related to the use of alcohol, an employer legally can stop you from getting a job as a bartender or a server of alcohol. You also cannot obtain employment in a liquor store.
- If the offense was money-related, you may be barred from working in a financial institution.
In some jobs, licensure is required, which can make it difficult for a person with a felony to obtain employment. Many of these occupations are found in the fields of health care and child care. Some organizations, however, such as nursing homes, can help you receive a license in order to work in their facility. That is why it is a good idea to build these kinds of relationships. You want to be considered for a job based on your personality and qualifications, not barred because of a past mistake.
Restrictions on Hiring
Time, however, can increase your job opportunities. You have many more occupations that are off-limits when you first are released from prison than several years after your release. Some workplaces place seven, ten, and 15-year limits on hiring restrictions.
To obtain more information along these lines, refer to the American Bar Association’s Collateral Consequences site. Collateral consequences are the benefits and opportunities that are not available or the restrictions that are placed on felons, with respect to their convictions. A familiar example of these kinds of consequences includes the inability to hold firearms, thereby making it impossible to obtain a job where a weapon is used.
The rules concerning barred occupations or restrictions for work can be complicated. That is why it is important to visit a Workforce Center or similar employment service to understand the mandates that apply to you. In order to make your job search more positive then, make sure you find out what type of information employers already know about criminal history and become familiarized with the guidelines established for a job search under supervision. You also want to demonstrate to employers the advantages of hiring an ex-offender.
Hiring a Felon – The Benefits to the Employer
Not only are employers eligible for Work Opportunity Tax Credits, they can also participate in the Federal Bonding program – an initiative that limits employer risk and reduces a business’s liability and costs for insurance. Employers who hire felons are also eligible for low-cost training initiatives. While you may be barred from certain jobs, you can also show an employer how, by hiring you, you can present a win-win situation for his company and for your eligibility to work as well.