Federal Laws Against Employment of a Felon

By Michael Wolfe
Some federal laws, the employment, felons

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The repercussions of a crime in one's past doesn't always end at the prison gates. People convicted of felonies lose a number of their rights, including the right to work certain jobs or receive a license to perform particular trades. Although the Equal Employment Opportunity Commission interprets Title VII of the Civil Rights Act to mean that employers cannot hire and fire people based on their conviction history, federal law bars felons from holding a number of jobs.

Insurance

Federal law forbids all types of felons convicted of a crime involving dishonesty or a breach of trust from working in the insurance industry. However, a felon may apply to receive an exemption to this rule from a state insurance regulator.

Union

In an effort to crack down on corruption in labor unions, many kinds of felons are barred from holding a number of positions in a union or other organization responsible for running an employee benefit plan. This limit only runs for 13 years after the date of a felon's conviction or, if their sentence is longer than 13 years, until the date of their release from prison. This includes serving as a union officer or governor.

Health Care

Felons convicted of one or more of a variety of crimes are barred by federal law from working for the generic drug industry and for a position in a health care facility in which they receive payment from Medicare.

Child Care

While felons are not expressly forbidden from working in child care, federal law mandates that employers conduct criminal history background checks on all employees providing care to children.

Prisoner Transportation

Individuals with a felony conviction or a domestic violence charge are forbidden from working in a job that requires they transport incarcerated inmates. This law is meant to ensure the safety of the prisoners being transported and to prevent the felons from helping current inmates escape.

Government Agencies

While felons are not expressly barred from working for a federal government agency, many agencies have specific requirements for employment that would effectively disqualify a person convicted of a felony. For instance, in an effort to maintain airport security, the Transportation Safety Administration is required to conduct a thorough background check of all potential employees.

Banks

Certain offenses will also prevent a person from being employed by companies that are insured by the Federal Deposit Insurance Corporation, such as lending banks. An individual will be disqualified if he or she has been convicted of an offense, either a misdemeanor or a felony, involving dishonesty, breach of trust, or money laundering.

About the Author

Michael Wolfe has been writing and editing since 2005, with a background including both business and creative writing. He has worked as a reporter for a community newspaper in New York City and a federal policy newsletter in Washington, D.C. Wolfe holds a B.A. in art history and is a resident of Brooklyn, N.Y.

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