The Limited Job Options for Convicted Felons in Chicago
Prison time. Huge fines. Stringent probation.
These are just a handful of the penalties you may face if you are convicted of a felony in Chicago. But after prison and probation sentences have been served and fines have been paid off, a felony conviction may still follow you for the rest of your life.
How? Because a felony conviction will leave a permanent blemish on your criminal record, which may create a number of problems for you down the road. Your criminal record can be accessed by virtually anyone with internet access, and that includes college admissions boards, landlords, loan officers, and—perhaps most devastatingly of all—prospective employers.
People with a felony on their criminal records may find it nearly impossible to find a job in Chicago, where employers are reluctant to hire even rehabilitated criminals for reasons such as security, concern for employee safety, or just plain old discrimination.
If you are convicted of a felony, you may be completely barred from certain jobs in the childcare, education, law enforcement, government, and health industries. Your record may also disqualify you for positions of financial responsibility, such as in insurance or banking.
So what job options exist for people with felony convictions on their records in Chicago?
Below, we’ve listed industries that have been known to accept convicted felons on occasion:
Maintenance. As a convicted felon, you’ll likely find it difficult to obtain jobs that require handling money or interacting with customers and other employees. You might have better luck obtaining positions where you work behind the scenes, such as in janitorial work, maintenance, and late-night restocking.
Construction. Typically, background checks in the hiring process for construction companies are not as strict as those in other industries. In certain cases, rehabilitated felons have been able to find work as laborers, power washers, and concrete workers.
The service industry. While most family-orientated or high-end hospitality establishments will turn down applicants with felonies on their record, there are a few companies in Illinois that have been known to accept felons on occasion, including:
- Bed, Bath, & Beyond
- Carl’s Junior
- Dollar Tree
- Dairy Queen
- Dunkin’ Donuts
- Salvation Army
- Shell Oil
Freelancing. In some cases, you can sidestep the criminal background check by signing on to a company as a freelancer, as employers may be less likely to conduct a criminal background check of a freelance employee. If you have the skill, training, and experience, you may be able to find freelance work in online sales, design, or writing. However, these jobs tend to be fairly competitive, and do not offer perks such as health care, retirement benefits, or paid vacation.
If You Are Facing a Felony Conviction in Chicago
For many, a felony conviction marks the end of their career. With a felony on their record, even once successful businessmen, health care professionals, and bankers may find it tough to find a job as a pizza delivery driver or hotel dishwasher.
Don’t let a felony conviction on your criminal record impact your future career, finances, and lifestyle. If you are facing felony charges in Illinois, it’s in your best interest to hire a tough Chicago felony defense attorney. A talented criminal lawyer may be able to help you fight your felony charges through extensive research, smart planning, and an aggressive defense. With a good defense attorney, you may be able to have your felony charges reduced or dropped, thereby avoiding devastating consequences to your career and future.
About the Author:
Andrew M. Weisberg is a former felony prosecutor who now serves as a defense attorney in the greater Chicago area. He has extensive experience in handling all types of criminal cases, from sex offenses and domestic violence to retail theft-related crimes, Murder, and drug crimes.