Will a Felony Get Me Fired?

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As felons know, having a criminal record creates a huge challenge in finding a job after incarceration ends.  Even though the formal sentence may be finished, the aftereffects linger for years.

The good news though is that there are employers who will hire felons.

Once felons get a job, it would seem like things would get easier, right?  After all, getting that job was the hard part.

This blog post will cover the issue of whether a felony can get felons fired.

  • Losing a Job Because of a Past Felony Conviction
  • Losing a Job Because of a Current Felony Charge
  • Dealing with a Job Loss
  • Supporting Felons after Getting Fired

Losing a Job Because of a Past Felony Conviction

For felons, it isn’t even safe once being employed.  Their past can still come back to haunt them and jeopardize their job.

Ninety percent of employers conduct a background check during the hiring process while only ten percent do not.  Even for those that do a criminal background check, some felonies can be overlooked.

For felons who do not report their criminal record honestly, an employer could find out and fire them for being dishonest. As a recent blog post pointed out, if a felony has been expunged it does not have to be disclosed.

In case felons are hired, employers have the right to fire anyone for being dishonest. This is especially true for felons who hide their criminal record in order to get a job.

For those who find themselves in this situation, it is better to come forward and let the boss know the truth.  To not do so, puts a job in even more jeopardy.

It is better to let the employer know themselves than for someone else to report it.

Otherwise, felons live and work with the knowledge that they were not truthful, and the truth could come out later.

For employers who did not do a background check at the time of employment, they may go back later and do one whenever they want anyway.   They have the right to fire them later on.

Nevertheless, it is a sticky area.  It is considered discrimination to fire someone solely for having a felony record, but employers do have the right to terminate anyone for lying on an application.

Or they may fire them if the employer is convinced that continuing to employ them could jeopardize the safety or well-being of the company.

Losing a Job Because of a Current Felony Charge

Felons who are convicted of another felony while employed, put themselves in the position of having to inform their employer.  If this happens, be sure to retain legal counsel.

After all, going through the legal process will necessitate taking time off work to go to court.  Then there is the inevitable sentence that accompanies a conviction.

It is best to inform the employer as soon as possible.

For states that are considered to have “at will” employment, they may legally fire an employee for pending charges and felony conviction.

“At will” employers are those who do not require a contract for workers who are hired.  Some states, but not all, have such a designation.  Be sure to check the state in question about this point.

However, even employees working under a contract can be fired, if there is a “moral” clause indicating employees can be terminated if charged with a felony offense or behave in ways that puts them and/or the company in a bad light.

Those felons who are charged with a felony while employed place themselves in great job jeopardy.

Employers have the right to set standards for employee conduct and can require employees to maintain a clean criminal record after being hired.

Informing an employer of a new felony charge depends on the state and the work industry.  For those who work in education or law enforcement, an arrest must be reported.

The court will disclose the arrest to employers if those workers don’t.

Nevertheless, it is still a tricky point to fire someone facing felony charges. If an employee is accused of a felony, it may be safer for the employer to suspend the worker until the trial has been held.

Firing such an employee may result in legal problems for the employer.  If acquitted of charges, this places the employer in a position of possibly being sued.

Likewise, if an employee plea bargains or is convicted of a misdemeanor instead of a felony, a law suit may result.

Dealing with a Job Loss

As the preceding points out, and as felons are already extremely aware, dealing with a felony conviction is difficult at any time.

It not only significantly impacts being able to find a job, but it can continue to haunt them much later on.

The best course of action is to be up front about a felony record in the application process.  It obviously may take longer to find a job, but it will negate the possibility of being found out for lying on a job application.

Being honest in this case is a major step in the rehabilitation process.  Another point is that once hired, a change to living an honest life will prevent further felony convictions and keep felons out of prison and with their families.

Supporting Felons after Being Fired

For families who want their loved ones with them, offer encouragement to face the challenges and live an honest life.  They usually want to move forward but may not know how.

They are struggling with the impact their felony record has caused.  Be there to support and encourage them as much as possible.

If they lose their job due to having a felony conviction, do not let them give up.  Help them continue the job search and live the right way.

So what do you think about this blog post about whether a felony will get a felon fired.  Have you or someone you know lost a job because of a felony?  What was that experience like?   Please tell us in the comments below.

About the author

After earning his MBA from Benedictine University, Ron was looking for a new challenge and stumbled on the idea of helping the formerly incarcerated.

Using what he learned, Ron developed this website as a free resource and has worked with his team​ to continue answering questions for those in need.

9 thoughts on “Will a Felony Get Me Fired?”

  1. I was honest in my application about the felony, was hired, worked two weeks and now on unpaid leave as supposedly they just received the background check.

    Was humiliated and told to leave work in the middle if the day. Can they fire me solely based on my felony conviction if it does not relate at all to what I do for work? I have now received the adverse action notice.

    Why would the bring me on board, put me through 2 weeks of training, and then put me on administrative leave for the same felony I initially disclosed.

    The date stated on the background check was 9 days prior to notifying me. They let me know on the last day of training.

    They strung me along and then humiliated me at the workplace.

  2. You can hire a workers rights lawyer for this case if you’d like. They will usually give you a free consultation and you can state your case. If they feel like it’s a winner, they will take the case and fight on your behalf. It would be better to ask one of them though as they are better versed in these types of laws.

  3. Thanks for the information. Companies like uber/ Lyft are misleading contracts about them hiring ex felons with 7 years, or older felons for work. I’m a victim of they lies.

  4. I took a plea bargain while I was being charged for misconduct with a student. They charge me twice for felony and misdemeanor. But I got something in the mail, that it was dropped, but I was charge with it as a felony. But I gave what I received from the mail to my job, and they allowed me to return ti work.
    8yrs later, they did another BC and found my charge, and said I was lying about it. I gave what was given to me.
    What can I do?

  5. I’m currently facing the lowest level felony charges and my main jib has had me on u,paid leave for over a month. I’ve been struggling to find work and yet everyone, even temp agencies, aren’t seeming to want to help me till after I’m convicted, or found innocent. Even felony friendly companies that have nothing to do with the charges I’m facing have turned me away and it’s all adding up to my fear that society pretty much wants me convicted before it can truly help me become a “good person” again. My main job keeps treating me like they want me to quit or are waiting for me to get convicted so they can legally fire me. Every day I’m realising how cruel society truly is on people even charged with felonies while not convicted. It’s all your judged as guilty till proven innocent and even before conviction. No company no matter how they claim to be felony friendly will never want someone who’s got just low level felony charges to work for them even if the jib has absolutly nothing to do with the felony charges. I’ve lost so much because of the charges and am on the edge of just giving into societies demands for those like me to just put an end to my journey. To let myself be forgotten, be no longer existing, and “make the world a better place” I’m very sorry for my mistakes and am fighting to prove my innocence as best I can yet nobody will let me get back to work to have some normalization in my life again. All they want is me and those like me to suffer.

  6. Hang in there. Don’t stop searching. I have a ccw charge from 1991,that just cost me a great job. Worked for 2 weeks then let go for charge. Temporary at will company. I am 55 years old ,married with children.
    Do not give up. Contact your Congress person. This problem is ignored by them. They all need to be drug tested and investigated like everyone else.

  7. I was fired from my job for being charged with a felony. I served a week in jail and was bailed out my employer gave me my job back but unfortunately now i get all the shit work at lower pay i break my back everyday at work and on payday iam disgusted to see my paycheck.
    I am very happy they did not fire me from my job but at the same time i feel like the guy above. Everyone treats me different i got the worst equipment to do my job with and some people even make comments.
    This case could go on for years. If it was not for my children i would just give up and give into what society thinks of me.

  8. I was rehired by a company that I had worked for previous and they even done a rehire check which was approved and my felony charge is over 8 years old now.I was fired after working 2weeks also. I was on my last day of training and received the call that they had to let me go because of the felony. My conviction had nothing to do with the job I was doing either. I was on unemployment due to COVID and my previous employer shut it’s doors so now I am without a job and this is probably going to affect my unemployment. I just don’t understand why they hired me back when they knew that I had a felony charge.

  9. I was hired and worked for almost a month, when my company fired me one morning after they said they got my background check. My felonies are from 2012. No one is safe.


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