Getting hired with a criminal record is often difficult. Fortunately, a growing number of policy and legislation changes have made it harder for employers to deny someone a job based solely on their arrest or criminal record. And several companies have been open about their readiness to hire people with prior felony convictions.
Companies That Hire Felons
While federal law does not explicitly protect applicants from discrimination based on their criminal record, the Equal Employment Opportunity Commission does offer some guidance on this subject — encouraging companies to consider the individual applicant, the nature of their crimes and how these offenses relate to the performance of a particular job.
Several states and cities have also enacted Ban the Box legislation, which limits employers’ ability to ask about or gain access to an applicant’s criminal record. And hundreds of companies have signed the Fair Chance Pledge, a 2016 initiative that aims to reduce the barriers to education and employment formerly incarcerated people typically face.
The following is a roundup of tech companies that are open to hiring people with felony convictions, based in part on research done by career resource site Zippia and Relaunch Pad, a site that offers re-entry support for formerly incarcerated individuals.
Companies That Hire Felons
Health platform firsthand serves people with mental illnesses. It offers a peer support network, social and medical support alongside community resources. The company’s operations are both digital and physical, with guides available for in-person support. In keeping with its inclusive ethos, firsthand says it hires people with felony records, looking at each applicant on a case-by-case basis.
Google is known for its high salaries and employee benefits. And over the years, the company has done a lot to foster educational and employment opportunities, including offering free tech bootcamps and signing the Fair Chance Pledge. According to its careers page, it also considers qualified applicants regardless of their criminal histories, so long as they have the relevant experience and training.
Not only does Microsoft consider ex-offenders when hiring, but it has confirmed hiring them in the past. In addition to supporting the Ban the Box initiative and being Fair Chance Pledge signator, the company has been known to post job vacancies on felon-friendly job boards, and even mentions that it accepts applications from people with criminal records on some of its job descriptions.
While IBM does not appear to be officially part of the Ban the Box campaign or the Fair Chance Pledge, it does not ask about criminal background on its employment application. And while it has been confirmed that the company does hire people with felony records, it is done on a case-by-case basis in which the specific nature of the crime and the responsibilities of the role are closely considered. IBM is also known for sponsoring H-1B visas and proactively recruiting veterans.
Apple is currently confirmed to hire people with previous criminal convictions, though that wasn’t always the case. Its policy states: “We welcome applications from a wide range of candidates, including those with criminal records.” Like many companies, Apple still conducts background checks on applicants, but claims it will request a criminal records check “only where this is considered proportionate and relevant to the particular role, based on risk assessment of that role and the relevant legislation.”
Caterpillar, the construction equipment company that’s been at the forefront of IoT innovation for years, confirmed with Relaunch Pad that it has hired felons in the past, and will continue to do so as long as the applicant “is for the job and can pass qualifications.” According to Zippia, there have been multiple reports by both current and former employees who have been hired after having a felony record. Their advice is to “be honest and prove rehabilitation.”
In addition to signing the Fair Chance Pledge, semiconductor chip manufacturer Intel has openly expressed that it will hire candidates with felony convictions. In a statement to Relaunch Pad, the company said “the existence of a criminal record does not automatically bar an applicant from employment,” at Intel. It determines the effect of the conviction on an applicant’s employability by considering “the nature and gravity of the conviction, the time elapsed since the conviction and the nature of the job in question,” as well as several other factors.
Like many companies, Meta, the company behind Facebook and Instagram, is an equal employment opportunity and affirmative action employer. Its website also explicitly states that it considers qualified applicants with criminal histories. That said, some felonies may preclude an applicant from employment at Meta.
Uber has openly expressed support for hiring people with criminal records, stating: “More than 70 million Americans have criminal records, which can make it difficult for them to get hired and make a living. Uber is part of a growing movement of companies and policymakers committed to giving people a second chance.”
The company also has several programs for hiring people with felony records, depending on the state the applicant is in. For example, in California the company partnered with Defy Ventures, an organization that offers employment training to people with criminal records, in order to help non-violent offenders become drivers. It also provides legal assistance to help turn people’s felonies into misdemeanors.
According to its careers page, AT&T “fully considers all qualified applicants, including those with a criminal history.” The telecommunications company is a confirmed supporter of the Ban the Box initiative and Fair Chance Pledge too. Relaunch Pad has also found evidence that the company has hired people with felony and misdemeanor convictions before.
According to the social media company’s careers page, Pinterest does consider qualified applicants “regardless of criminal histories, consistent with legal requirements.” It conducts a background check on all applicants, too, and is less tolerant of those who have committed crimes related to violence or sexual misconduct.
Cisco supports former felons and incarcerated individuals with its Second Chance Justice Reform initiative. The program has proved to be a game-changer for young people in cities like Chicago and Detroit, providing mentorship and skills training. Those who enter the program gain access to courses and certifications through Cisco’s Networking Academy, giving themselves more prospects to look forward to in the future.
United Airlines commits to second chance hiring as a way to diversify its workforce. To increase its accountability, the company is also part of the Fair Chance Hiring Cohort. This group was founded by the Corporate Coalition of Chicago and is dedicated to removing hiring practices that discriminate against job seekers with criminal records.
As a member of the Second Chance Business Coalition (SCBC), Eaton has supplemented its diversity and inclusion policies with second chance hiring practices. In a 2021 inclusion and diversity report, the company describes how it reduced the look-back period for various offenses and rewrote its job descriptions to encourage those with “criminal histories” to apply. As a result, over 80 percent of applicants passed Eaton’s updated criminal review process.
PayPal is working to hire candidates with criminal backgrounds by joining the Next Chapter initiative. Founded by Slack, the program aims to help formerly incarcerated individuals break into or return to the job market. Requirements for completing the program include a year of coding training in advance, a rigorous interview and assessment process and a 12-week bootcamp. Next Chapter graduates are then matched with partner companies like PayPal.
CVS Health has made hiring those with criminal backgrounds a key workforce initiative by establishing its Second Chance program. The program includes a network of around 1,700 partner organizations that span the local, state and national levels. Through these connections, CVS Health provides formerly incarcerated individuals with coaching, education opportunities, skills training and other services.
Frequently Asked Questions
Can you get a job with a felony?
Yes. While the process can be difficult, there are companies willing to give second chance opportunities for previous felons.
Types of jobs that hire felons
Web developers, IT tech support and computer programmers are a few jobs that hire felons.