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    brneyes798's Avatar
    brneyes798 Posts: 2, Reputation: 1
    New Member

    Feb 15, 2006, 11:10 AM
    Living with a felony
    Do companies have the right to exclude a candidate from a job position based on a felony conviction?

    I was recently hired by an IT consulting firm to do a software deployment for a major bank. The consulting firm investigated my background, after I had fully disclosed the information to them. They found that my record SINCE the offense had been excellent and my references highly recommended me. They spoke with me personally about the details and circumstances of the offense and deemed that the nature of the offense and the time since the offense were not enough to keep them from hiring me for the position.

    Their client, (the major bank), on the other hand, did no investigation, no personal contact, no nothing, except see that I have a felony conviction on my record from 14 years ago and immediately denied my presence on the project.

    I freely admit to a mistake. I have gone on with a productive life and a proven track record since that time. How long do I have to pay for a mistake? Do I have ANY recourse in this matter? I have investigated having the conviction expunged from my record, only to be told that it was not possible due to my age at the time of the conviction. All I want is to provide a decent life for my wife and children. Does anyone have any suggestions at all?

    Fr_Chuck's Avatar
    Fr_Chuck Posts: 81,301, Reputation: 7692

    Feb 15, 2006, 11:31 AM
    Yes a company can have rules that no one with a felony can be employed.

    Often in many industries, banking, insurance, and others one can not even be considered for the job if they have a felony conviction. Even felony arrests would have to be explained

    The Bank ( client) has a rule about no one with felonies being allowed to work with their material. This would or could include any workers for any subcontractors they use ( i.e. your firm) you could work on other projects for this company but not the bank project.

    I worked for one firm where security was so high, that even the people who delivered soda to the machines or snacks to the snack machines, or people who delivered anything that went into the building, could not have a felony record, anyone going in that building had to have had a background check and a specific id issued by the company.

    Right now in my work ( I work with a medicare contractor doing work with the elderly) no one with a felony record can work for our company.
    They make no exceptions because it is a medicare law )

    Also in insurance for example, most will not hire anyone to be a agent because it requires bonding and most can not get a mond with a felony arrest.

    Many jobs are no longer available to someone with a record.

    ** waiting to hear excons take on this also
    CaptainForest's Avatar
    CaptainForest Posts: 3,645, Reputation: 393
    Ultra Member

    Feb 15, 2006, 12:09 PM
    I am assuming you don't live in Canada based on your comments.

    However, in case you do and have received the wrong information, any convictions on your record can be expunged after 7 years of when your sentence ends.

    Although as I think about it, I doubt you live in Canada, since you said felony.

    Now, moving on.

    Yes companies can deny you if you have a felony conviction. While your IT company is okay with you, the major bank is not. This is unfortunate for you. But the bank has its own rules and its own security standards to follow.
    brneyes798's Avatar
    brneyes798 Posts: 2, Reputation: 1
    New Member

    Feb 15, 2006, 12:17 PM
    I suppose all the hard work in put in working a full time job and going to school full time over the last four years has been for nothing. The only positions I will be able to obtain with a felony are low paying. What a wonderful world!
    CaptainForest's Avatar
    CaptainForest Posts: 3,645, Reputation: 393
    Ultra Member

    Feb 15, 2006, 12:25 PM
    Unfortunately that is a consequence of being convicted of a felony.

    There are other countries in the world though that you go to, such as Canada. You can receive a pardon after 7 years.

    And you said your IT Company is okay with it. Ummm, so why worry? Granted, the major bank doesn't want you, but the next client might not care.
    excon's Avatar
    excon Posts: 21,482, Reputation: 2992
    Uber Member

    Mar 30, 2006, 08:22 AM
    Hello br:

    Dude! Relax. There is life after a felony. YES, you have to make adjustments, so get on with it!

    You were "told"?? By who? Some bureaucrat?? WHY would you ask for legal advice from a bureaucrat?? Worse! Why would BELIEVE any legal advice you got from a bureaucrat??

    Go back to square one. You're not going to get this job. Fix the problem, then go on to make millions and take care of your family. You need to hire an attorney in the state where the felony occurred. Irrespective of what you were told, I believe expungment is available in ALL states. If it isn't, then a pardon certainly is.

    Go for it. What are you waiting for?

    Here's the next bit of bad news. An expungment doesn't ELIMINATE your record. It only removes it from public view. If you're ever asked on an application whether you've been convicted of a felony, the truth would be yes, even though you know that they can't find your record. Well, dude, you handle that however you want. I'm not here to give you moral advice.

    A pardon, however, actually gets rid of the felony completely, and you can honestly say that you've NEVER been convicted of a felony.

    OK, here's the next bit of advice. You may very well have to make adjustments in your life. You may very well no longer be a corporate dude. You may very well have to transform yourself into self employed software "consultant". I don't know why you wouldn't want to do that anyway, but circumstances may force your hand.

    Here's the last bit of advice. Stop sniveling.

    ScottGem's Avatar
    ScottGem Posts: 64,966, Reputation: 6056
    Computer Expert and Renaissance Man

    Mar 30, 2006, 11:41 AM
    I think the issue here is one of bonding. Most bank employees need to be bonded. Basically this is getting insurance where the bonding firm indemnifies the bank (or whatever company) from loss if you should steal from them.

    Its not that easy for a person with a felony to get bonded, so the bank's bonding company, not the bank, may be dictating the policy.

    My suggestion is to see if you can get yourself bonded by a repuatable firm. The software company that offered you the position may help with this. If you can get bonded, that may convince other employers to take a chance on you.
    fredg's Avatar
    fredg Posts: 4,926, Reputation: 674
    Ultra Member

    Mar 30, 2006, 02:39 PM
    The chances of being "bonded" by any company in the United States are very slim, but could be worth a try. Whenever a job application is filled out, as you said, it asks for prior convictions; other than misdemeanors.
    Unfortunately, this is the way things work. But, being bonded is another story. I do wish you the best of luck.
    Fr_Chuck's Avatar
    Fr_Chuck Posts: 81,301, Reputation: 7692

    Mar 30, 2006, 04:51 PM
    I think one of the harder issues is even getting to that chance, since of course you will be competeing with a ever growing unemployed or under employed work force.

    For example the position I had in Atlanta, would allow someone with a high school education to be hired, but no one that did not have a college degree ever got hired, just too many people applying for the job.

    So if you apply along with 100 other people, they start narrowing their search down, each company will have its own way to decide which 5 or 6 out of 100 they will call in to talk to, but I would suggest that a felony can get you left out before the race starts in some jobs and industries.

    I saw one business that had on their help wanted notice, only non smokers need apply, I guess they were not going to hire anyone that smokes.

    Unless it is for one of the protected classes, a company can not hire for any reason they wish
    excon's Avatar
    excon Posts: 21,482, Reputation: 2992
    Uber Member

    Apr 7, 2006, 07:10 AM

    I'll give it one more shot.

    >>>The mistake I made was being open and honest and waiving my rights to have an attorney present.<<<

    That's true! It's a mistake you made THEN. The mistake you are making TODAY (and apparently insist on continuing with) is NOT changing up.

    I know, it's not looking good, but you have NOT been convicted yet. And, you may not be. But, you surely will be if you continue to lay down.

    CharlieN's Avatar
    CharlieN Posts: 1, Reputation: 1
    New Member

    Apr 15, 2006, 05:53 PM
    Convicted of felony in 1996. Also a drug felony in 1993 ( I think ). To prison in 1998, became part of a special program funded by George Soros. He donated $ 1 million to the prison for inmates to attend college. I excelled in accounting, and made straight A's. Onto 4 year University on sholarship. Won numerous national merit awards including being 1 of 42 students nationwide chosen as a National Society of Accountants Scholar 2 years in a row. Interned for 2 large CPA firms. ROAD BLOCK: As I neared the end of my education I began to prepare for the CPA examination in my state. I spoke to the boards in many states over the next year, and found that for many professions such as CPA, or ATTORNEY the issue comes down to " Moral Fitness", or " Character Fitness". It depends on how it worded in the state statute. Long story short, I realized that the chances of me being able to persuade the board ( taking into consideration Enron, Tyco, etc. at the time), was slim, at best. I then started my own high volume tax service as a sort of slap in the face. I know, like you, that I have the talent, education, etc. and that since I've been sober everything has changed. After investing more than $20,000 cash, I ran into another background issue with the IRS, and chose to put the EFILE ( IRS ) license in my name. This gave her, my eventual wife control of my business. Ahhh---now you see where I am going. Yes... we started having problems and she took control of the accounts, and closed the business, during the height of tax season, when we had already tripled our business from the previous year. I would have netted $70 K plus, but instead have ended up in BK. So... back to market. Hired... made an offer by Blue Cross and Blue Shield, but I lied on the application, they did background check and apparently, a law exists like the father said, barring m from working in the insurance industry. Medicare auditor was the position. I also have a real estate license, which I lied to get. I told my instructor about my past, and he persuaded me to answer NO the " The Question" regarding felony conviction. However, now the issue is the state in which I live requires a background check, and the realty company wants to do a credit check. Which by the way, more often than not, is a criminal records check ( skirting the law slightly ). That's how Blue Cross got me. Where am I today. Well I was actually researching a new career job prospect: Accountant Asst Controller for a local bank. I have all the skills, edcuation, experience, but " what was I thinking". I know better than anyone that I can not be hired by a bank. I guess I was just " American Dreaming". Starting your own business is great, but no benefits for family, a lot of risk, hard on relationship, upfront costs, and also, many times professional licensing is needed, and that's where the problem usually lies.
    I am thinking about starting a non-profit to assist felons. But maybe it's the employers in private industry and politicians that need persuading. In 14 states it is now illegal to discriminate against someone with a felony. Two of them in both public and private industry. Its sucks when your creativity, intelligence, ability, and productivity ( hurts the US Economy ) is stifled to the point of complaining on this website. Good luck to anyone. I answer hundreds of emails a week from professionals with felony convictions, but I am running out of advice and hope. Good luck to all!
    dahbuldee's Avatar
    dahbuldee Posts: 3, Reputation: 1
    New Member

    May 9, 2006, 01:56 PM
    Here's my advice and experience for what it's worth.

    I'm in a similar boat: Ex-con, felony convictions from 11 years ago, college educated, trying to get ahead in life and put my past behind me.

    I've had great success working for smaller companies. I've basically followed a "don't ask, don't tell" policy and it's worked well for me. I also had offers from larger companies in college who said they weren't concerned about my past.

    General Thoughts:

    Watch where you live. Some states are very unfriendly to Ex-Cons. Pretty much any state in the South will classify you as subhuman. Consider moving North or West. Both the laws (and the people) are more forgiving. I know that Washington in particular has a 10 year limit on considering felony convictions for employment.

    Research what you want to do. Not every job is closed to you. Some states are more lenient than others in licensing felons for professional occupations. There was a story on 60 Minutes a few years back about a convicted murder who recently passed the bar exam in Arizona and is now a practicing attorney. It took him years of persistence.

    Be honest. Nothing will compound the problem of a felony conviction like dishonesty. Fear is really no excuse. I can't imagine a company wanting to hire some with a criminal history and a present tendency to lie. Just be prepared to knock on a lot more doors than the average person before one opens for you.

    Make yourself valuable. Work harder than anyone else. People like us truly have something prove and it should show in our work ethic.

    To the original poster's specific issue:

    I have done some research into the financial industry in the past. It's true you can be barred from a lot of areas in finance if you've had a conviction within the past 10 years. But it sounds like you're past that period. I agree with ScottGem that bonding/insurance may the issue here. Most companies have a blanket bond that will be invalidated if they hire a felon.

    If it really is a legal and not discriminatory barrier you're facing, you should take ScottGem's advice and consider getting personally bonded by a large insurance company. Don't listen to naysayers out there who say it can't be done. Somewhere there is a company willing to give you a quote. You may not like that quote but it at least gives you a dollar amount of how risky you are to bank. If it's manageable, you can pay it or offer to pay it yourself. It may mean a hit to your overall salary but it could be worth it.
    Bearlyus2's Avatar
    Bearlyus2 Posts: 1, Reputation: 1
    New Member

    Aug 4, 2006, 04:00 PM
    I have a friend that has just moved here (florida) from (NY ) with a felony, they asked me about finding out weather it is possible to get some kind of Bonding done, so that they may have a chance for employment. Does anyone know of any references which we may use?
    answerboy's Avatar
    answerboy Posts: 3, Reputation: 1
    New Member

    Aug 16, 2006, 06:23 PM
    This is an interesting post since I thought I was the only one going through this. I graduated from college with a degree in accounting and a 3.96 GPA. Many people ask me why I did not take the CPA - and I always give some BS answer. The conviction was over 20 years ago, and sometimes I am fortunate and am hired at a company that limits the question to 7 years. I have even been in charge of HR, payroll, tax, and HR records ironically. But I am very trustworthy, that is what is so crazy about this at times. I handle all salary info and SSN with top confidentiality for the sheer joy and exuberance of being trusted!

    Most recently I worked for a company doing p/r tax - way below my caliber but it paid very well and I did a great job so they hired me from a temp agency. But it was not good for my career progression, and I did not have any opportunity for advancement. I applied to many jobs while working, checking yes to the magic question. After five years of nothing, I rolled the dice and recently moved to Washington. I am currently seeking employment here. People have no idea why I moved and why I chose Washington. I tell very few people anything, which has really affected my personal life.

    In fact, a career really affets all other areas, like finances, quality of relationships, friends, etc. I find that with lower quality jobs all other areas suffer big time. In fact I don't even date much, but at this point I am just looking forward to getting a great career more in line with my level of ability, as opposed to taking lower level positions. But I have been fortunate up to this point, and I hope everything else falls into place very soon. I skip all of the certifications (CISSP, CISA, CPA), which could really boost my salary, and I just stay optimistic and eager that I will have a great career without all of the BS.
    koffeenut's Avatar
    koffeenut Posts: 1, Reputation: 1
    New Member

    Sep 4, 2006, 08:36 PM
    I have a question along another vein of thought. I too am a convicted felon. I am considering taking a job that will require a trip to Canada for a training conference. Does anyone know if a person with a felony record can visit Canada? Is there anything I could do to ensure such a visit? Thanks for any advice/insight you might be able to offer.:)
    ScottGem's Avatar
    ScottGem Posts: 64,966, Reputation: 6056
    Computer Expert and Renaissance Man

    Sep 5, 2006, 05:27 AM
    Since you do not need to obtain a VISA for visiting Canada, there should be no problem as long as you have served your time.
    answerboy's Avatar
    answerboy Posts: 3, Reputation: 1
    New Member

    Sep 7, 2006, 08:40 PM
    CharlieN wrote: <<In 14 states it is now illegal to discriminate against someone with a felony. Two of them in both public and private industry.>>

    Which 14 states and which two? Some of these laws need to be read very carefully. In Washington, accounting is exempted from the 10 year limitation. A recruiter actually escorted me out of the office after I checked yes which I was rather surprised to read considering there was supposed to be a 10 year limitation. This NEVER happened in California, though they may not call sometimes. This was blatantly rejected by no other reason that a felony conviction, does not matter what for or how long ago. Apparently the exception is in WAC 43.43.815: (a) Securing a bond required for any employment;

    (b) Conducting preemployment and postemployment evaluations of employees and prospective employees who, in the course of employment, may have access to information affecting national security, trade secrets, confidential or proprietary business information, money, or items of value.

    So the recruiters say well that means accounting, finance, inventory, etc etc, so get lost.
    excon's Avatar
    excon Posts: 21,482, Reputation: 2992
    Uber Member

    Sep 8, 2006, 04:51 AM
    Quote Originally Posted by answerboy
    CharlieN wrote: In 14 states it is now illegal to discriminate against someone with a felony. Two of them in both public and private industry.

    I don't believe it.

    dahbuldee's Avatar
    dahbuldee Posts: 3, Reputation: 1
    New Member

    Sep 8, 2006, 09:25 AM
    That's disappointing to hear about Washington. I had it on my radar as a possible relocation state for jobs if things got tough.
    dahbuldee's Avatar
    dahbuldee Posts: 3, Reputation: 1
    New Member

    Sep 8, 2006, 09:27 AM
    From what I've researched Canda is tough to visit for convicted felons. They can deny entry for any felony conviction, even for a simple border crossing. Time erases some of them from what I recall but the more severe convictions (i.e. prison sentences) require special approval.

    Do your research before you make the trip. You may get lucky and they won't ask. But in these post 9/11 days you can never be sure.

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