Felons must indicate on job applications whether or not they have been convicted of a crime. This can lead to employers deciding not to hire them. Felons can certainly apply for jobs, and they can be employed legally in many capacities, but whether or not they are hired depends on a number of factors.

Is it Legal to Discriminate Against Felons?

The Civil Rights Act of 1964 prohibits discriminating against prospective or potential employees for a number of different personal characteristics. The stated characteristics are race, religion, nationality, gender, sex, ethnicity, or national origin.

However, felony status is not necessarily a personal characteristic. The three considerations that the EEOC requires employers consider are known as the “green” factors, and they include: the nature and gravity of the illegal conduct, the time that has passed since the illegal conduct occurred, and the nature of the job sought.

The nature of the crime is an important consideration when considering a convicted felon for employment. For example, it would be legal not to trust a former bank robber to work as a bank teller, or a known elder-abuser to work as a caretaker to the elderly, or a white-collar financial criminal to work closely with a company’s most sensitive and crucial financial accounts. However, if the felony is unrelated to the job, the applicant may have a stronger case for discrimination. 

Can I Reverse a Felony Status?

It is possible to have a felony record sealed and to expunge the felony from your record. Violent crimes, sex crimes, and crimes against minors often can’t be expunged. In order to have a court consider expungement, all fines needs to be paid and all penalties related to the felony fulfilled. If a felony is expunged, it will be removed from public records, but all traces of it may not necessarily completely disappear if someone is doing a background check for an employer.

Do I Need a Lawyer?

If you suspect you have been discriminated against because of a felony status, it is worth consulting a felony expungement lawyer in order to find out what your options are. A lawyer can represent you during the legal process and help you build your best case.