Companies that hire felons are a much-needed source of income and stability for many. Rebuilding a life can be challenging without the right opportunities and support. The good news is that there are many more felon-friendly jobs out there than you might expect.
If you understand what makes you valuable, there’s no reason a past conviction should stand in your way. Provided you follow the latest job search tips and know where to look, you stand an excellent chance of finding the work you deserve!
Below you’ll find a list of some of the biggest companies offering felon-friendly jobs in 2023, as well as tips and information on re-entering the workforce after a past conviction.
Felonies are, by definition, more serious offenses than misdemeanors, and normally carry long prison sentences and high penalties. As a result, convicted felons can have an incredibly difficult time reintegrating into society and finding the stability and sense of community needed to lower their chances of recidivism.
When companies are willing to give people with past offences access to jobs, they’re playing a crucial role in decreasing their chances of reoffending. Instead of rejecting applicants based on their criminal record, these employers allow anyone to apply and offer equal employment opportunities to all applicants.
We can think of felon-friendly jobs as a sort of second chance that can effectively help people turn their life around. Although ex-felons face a number of restrictions in terms of the type of work they can be hired for, several sectors are known for accepting applications from people of all backgrounds and histories.
Many skilled labor positions, such as trucking, construction, manufacturing and technician jobs, are open to most people with a high school diploma, and this includes convicted felons. Other positions you can apply for include retail, delivery service and hospitality positions, as well as jobs in oil and gas companies.
Although, traditionally, ex-convicts have been ineligible for some professions (like childcare, medical and judiciary jobs, to name some), each state follows its own regulations regarding hiring people with criminal records. The longevity of that ineligibility, therefore, varies by state.
Wondering what major companies accept applications from ex-felons? Here are 25 businesses that offer felony-friendly employment opportunities:
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One of the biggest fast-food brands in the world, McDonald’s has plenty of reports online from felons who have found gainful employment at their locations. Misdemeanors are also unlikely to exclude your application.
As a franchised business, your applicant experience may vary from store to store and location to location. Most places will run a background check, while others may not. Remember to be as clear as possible about what you’re looking for when searching for work.
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When it comes to fast-food work, Starbucks is considerably more generous than many people expect. Subsidized education, health coverage, paid time off and a whole slew of other benefits are available.
Background checks should be expected when applying, but this doesn’t mean that a felony conviction will put you out of the running. Felons are considered on a case-by-case basis.
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When searching for a job, some felons overlook major companies like Microsoft. The reality is, however, that this company has a history of hiring felons and frequently offers felon-friendly jobs.
In the past, programs like the Workforce Foundation have collaborated with Microsoft to remove employment barriers.
When applying, make sure that any charges are at least five years old. More recent convictions may hurt your application.
5. General Mills
When applying at General Mills, expect a background check and a drug check as part of the process. A felony charge won’t necessarily hurt your application — it all comes down to the nature of the charge and how recent the offence was.
There’s a fairly broad range of job opportunities available at General Mills, so it’s worth considering during your search.
Both the development and warehouse branches of Amazon are packed full of job opportunities for the right applicant. Depending on the severity of your charge, it might be best to start at the warehouse and look into building your way up.
If you have the right skill set, felon-friendly jobs in development are also available. In many cases, your résumé and interview skills will matter much more than your record.
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It might not be the most glamorous option in the world, but plenty of people find a steady income and decent support at Walmart. There are no conviction-specific questions on this company’s job applications, but their background checks will look for past convictions.
If your track record after leaving prison is good, Walmart won’t penalize you when applying!
Google is known around the world for offering well-compensated roles with excellent employee benefits. A criminal history won’t be a barrier to entry here. The main thing to consider when applying will be your relevant experience and training.
If you’re qualified for the position in question, a criminal history won’t hurt you. There isn’t a ton of online discussion about recent felon hires, but there’s nothing in their official policy or track record to suggest you’ll be excluded.
Google is one of many companies that has signed the Fair Chance Business Pledge. First introduced in April 2016, this White House initiative is designed to reduce barriers that previously incarcerated people face when re-entering society.
9. American Airlines
A high-flying behemoth, American Airlines can be an excellent choice for post-prison life. Depending on the position you secure, you may enjoy substantial perks too, including travel discounts, health coverage and a 401(k) plan.
Keep in mind that any job related to aviation requires employees to go through what’s called a Federal Aviation Administration background check.
These are significantly more extensive than some checks you may have experienced in the past. Don’t worry, though: American Airlines is willing to consider applications from people with a criminal record.
10. Pizza Hut
Income from tips can substantially improve your earnings at places like Pizza Hut. As an international franchise, your specific applicant experience here is likely to vary from location to location. That said, plenty of previously incarcerated people have found work at one of the company’s 19,000 restaurants.
If you’re interested in the tech sector, Facebook can be an excellent option. The company is quite vocal about its support of fair hiring practices. They’ve also signed the Fair Chance Pledge, the initiative designed to enhance career prospects for the previously incarcerated.
Expect a thorough application process and some form of a background check.
A significant chunk of the roles at Gap will be customer-facing. This means that certain past charges may bar you from success. That said, a felony charge alone won’t be enough to exclude you when applying.
Applicants with past retail experience or good interpersonal skills will stand an excellent chance of securing work.
13. CVS Health
If you’re willing to go through a complete background check, CVS Health could be a fantastic option after prison. Remember that the laws of your specific state will influence the type and intensity of check you experience.
The range of career options available through CVS is pretty broad. Plenty of people find work in analytics, retail or anything in between.
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Your specific experience here will come down to the person running your interview. It’s worth noting, however, that plenty of people with felony convictions have found work through Unilever in the past.
As with most major companies, applicants will go through a relevant background check that’s influenced by the laws of their state.
15. Ben & Jerry’s
Ben & Jerry’s has a progressive hiring policy that means people with felony charges still have a strong chance to secure work. Many of B&J’s suppliers, such as Greyston Bakery, also work hard to give people a second chance when hiring.
If you see a job posting for Ben & Jerry’s in your area, definitely consider applying.
The nature of Prudential’s field means that certain fraud-related charges may disqualify you when applying. Other past felonies can be fine, however. As always, apply with an excellent résumé, and your past incarceration need not get in your way.
Be prepared for background checks when applying.
If you’ve been out of prison for more than seven years, your application with Uber is unlikely to be canceled. Just keep in mind that the background checks and interviews involved with this ride-sharing company may disqualify you for other reasons.
If it’s the kind of work you’re interested in, don’t let your past incarceration dissuade you.
When applying at IKEA, you’ll be asked to consent to a pre-employment check that will look at your record and several other factors. If you refuse this check, your application will be dismissed.
If you consent, however, a past conviction alone won’t stop you from finding work!
19. Tyson Foods
Tyson Foods doesn’t have a single question about past convictions on its application forms. This means that when applying, your relevant experience and skills will matter much more than where you’ve been in the past.
Almost 124,000 employees across several states currently work for Tyson Foods. There’s plenty of opportunity here if you know where to look.
Formerly known as the Federal Express, transportation and eCommerce solutions company FedEx is known to hire people with felony convictions. Being one of the biggest transportation and logistics companies in the world, operating in some 220 countries, FedEx has extraordinary staffing needs. As of 2023, they’re employing around 530,000 people worldwide.
A quick look at Chipotle’s career page reveals a lot about their approach to hiring. The chain of fast casual restaurants claims to be all about “championing diversity and celebrating inclusion” — and it’s not all talk and no action, either.
If you’re presentable, have a can-do attitude and can demonstrate eagerness to learn, they will consider you on a case-by-case basis even if you have no experience.
22. Home Depot
Home Depot belongs to the family of Ban the Box companies that have taken the Fair Chance Pledge. Dating back to the 1990s, the Ban the Box campaign advocates for the inclusion of ex-offenders by removing the criminal record check box that applicants must fill in on their job applications.
Having said that, some offences, such as violent and theft misdemeanors, can lower your chances of landing the job.
23. Dunkin’ Donuts
Depending on what the charges were, Dunkin’ Donuts considers ex-felons for its job openings. Having said that, the coffee and donut multinational does run background checks on applicants, so if you move along the hiring process, it’s imperative that you mention your offense to the manager.
PepsiCo performs background checks on applicants and hires ex-felons on a case-by-case basis. The food, snack and beverage corporation currently employs more than 315,000 people around the globe, 290,000 of which work full time.
25. In-N-Out Burger
With just under 400 restaurants in the US, In-N-Out Burger sells thousands of patties each day. Their workforce currently sits at around 27,000 people who enjoy benefits such as health and life insurance, employee discounts and free meals, among other perks.
Finding work with a criminal record can require a bit of extra thoughtfulness and research on your part. Keep the following five steps in mind when beginning your job search:
- Know your rights. In some cases, it’s illegal for employers to reject your application based on a past conviction or recent felon status. Familiarize yourself with state and federal laws to your advantage.
- Do some volunteer work. Volunteering can be a great way to boost existing skills and learn new ones. It can also help you form meaningful connections that might lead to job opportunities down the road.
- Get references. Turn to people who have worked with you in the past, as well as any new connections you make through volunteering. Having references can greatly increase your chances of getting employed.
- Contact organizations that can help. Many charities, social enterprises and NGOs offer support to ex-felons looking for work. See if there are any in your area who can guide you in the right direction.
- Be honest. Avoid lying about your past in your interviews. At the same time, steer the conversation towards the positive changes that have occurred between your past offenses and now.
In today’s competitive job market, it can be easy for anyone to feel discouraged — let alone justice-involved individuals who face additional obstacles. However, it’s worth remembering that with a bit of confidence, honesty and willingness to work hard, you can become more employable than you think.
Can you think of any other big companies that are known for employing ex-offenders? Let us know in the comments section below!
Originally published on October 30, 2017. Updated by Electra Michaelidou.