There may be as many as twelve million ex-felons in the United States of America, meaning that as much as eight percent of the working age population are seeking jobs for convicted felons who have completed their terms of service. In recent years, the Equal Employment Opportunity Commission has considered the Civil Rights Act to mean that before a company is able to bar jobs for ex-offenders, the company must show that there is a business necessity before the employer will be allowed to automatically ban the job for felons.
Some jobs, for convicted felons, such as health care or education cannot be fulfilled by former felons. Some statutes forbid licensing boards from allowing jobs for ex-offenders, while other boards are required to consider the applicant’s moral character, with a prior conviction being considered a valid indication of compromised moral character.
Some of the professions with licensing requirements that can prevent jobs for convicted felons are ambulance drivers, billiard room employees, physicians, attorneys, nurses, barbers, embalmers, pharmacists, realtors, accountants, septic tank cleaners, and alcoholic beverage sellers. However, some states have modified the relevant laws.
California, for example, has modified laws saying jobs for ex-offenders can only be prevented if the original offense was related to the qualifications, duties, or functions of the job which they are applying to fill. Texas law takes into account the relationship of the jobs for felons and the original offense, the time since the original activity, and if the person has letters of recommendation about the job.