For people with a sex crime conviction on their record, finding a job can be difficult. And for employers, it can be challenging balancing staffing needs with company safety, as well as legality. Here is everything you need to know about what qualifies as a sex offense, what companies will hire sex offenders, and what employers cannot hire someone with a sex crime conviction.
Many professionals balk at working alongside someone who is a sex offender. In fact, many court cases have come up involving employees who feel uncomfortable with a coworker who has a criminal past. But it’s essential to understand the range of crimes which qualify as sex offenses, including how registries and reporting work.
Factors like the severity of the crime, the age of the perpetrator and victim(s), and the location where the event(s) occurred contribute to a person’s status as a sex offender. Overall, however, sex crimes typically include sexual acts where there is violence, a lack of consent, or activity involving someone who is legally incapable of consent, such as a child.
Crimes which may be considered “sex crimes” range from rape to indecent exposure from being “underdressed” in public. Of course, statutory rape is one of the most controversial convictions. One teen accusing another of inappropriate touching can result in an assault conviction. A legal adult (age 18 in most states) engaging in perceived consensual sex can result in a statutory rape conviction if the other party is under 18.
A person who urinates in public can also wind up on a sex offender registry. Scenarios such as these shed light on the fact that not every person on a sex offender registry is a violent, repeat offender who targets children. Of course, these scenarios also do not discount the fact that most people on sex offender registries have committed egregious crimes.
It’s worth noting what qualifies as a sex crime to better understand the range of possibilities when investigating a job candidate. This can also explain an otherwise professional-appearing job applicant’s presence on a sex offender registry.
An employer might also assume an applicant has something to hide. But in fact, a “suspicious” person might have the cleanest criminal history in the entire staff.
The range of possibilities when interviewing and hiring staff further supports the need for thorough background checks. After all, there is no other way to ensure a person is who they say they are than to investigate every aspect of their history.
Of course, first impressions can often be wrong. Therefore, giving applicants the same treatment—and benefit of the doubt—ensures you are acting as morally as possible.
Although there is no set list of companies that hire sex offenders, many industries offer careers to rehabilitated offenders. In fact, some companies have received accolades for agreeing to hire convicted sex offenders when other organizations refused.
Many people object to hiring sex offenders, whether they wind up working alongside one or not. But it’s worth noting that people who are unjustly accused face the same struggles as those who are, in fact, guilty.
Community support is often instrumental in rehabilitating offenders. Securing a job helps keep offenders off the streets, ensuring they contribute to society. Here we’ll cover what industries sex offenders often find work in, including companies that provide opportunities.
Not every company expressly bans sex offenders from applying for jobs. However, due to either news coverage or company statements on the topic, most folks have a general idea of what industries won’t hire people with sex crimes on their records.
Depending on the nature of the crime, a job seeker may not feel comfortable applying to work in an office or area with many other people. The risk of coworkers finding out about their conviction can cause stress and even a hostile work environment. Therefore, some types of jobs are often more suitable for registered sex offenders than others.
Job qualities that are often favorable for offenders include:
Though these qualities are often desirable for offenders looking for work, exceptions do exist. Some people with a conviction on their record still prefer to work with groups of people or in customer-facing roles. Preferences vary, and so do employers’ desires to work with employees on the registry.
Positions within companies that hire sex offenders range from truck drivers to warehouse workers and beyond. Fortunately for registered offenders, a criminal conviction does not always mean an inability to provide for oneself.
People with sex offense convictions can often find roles as:
Many companies specify that they will hire sex offenders whose convictions are five or more years old. Limits range from five to ten years, but most companies who agree to hire people with a criminal record highlight that the offenses must not be “fresh.”
Other companies participate in special agreements to provide jobs for newly released offenders or those completing probation. For job seekers interested in those programs, their probation officer can likely provide information on local assistance.
In some states, sex offenders who work as contractors may need to complete work in or near schools or daycares. In states such as Maryland, it’s the responsibility of the contractor to inform their employer of their status before tending to such work duties.
While it’s an understandable precaution, this also forces the worker to disclose their status to an employer when they otherwise would not have to. Legislation such as this can complicate sex offenders’ professional lives even further. It also makes it even more challenging for employers to follow the rules and feel confident in hiring decisions.
While many states do limit an employer’s ability to refuse a job to a sex offender, some industries cannot hire someone with a record. In short, the types of companies that cannot hire a sex offender include educational organizations and those who serve at-risk populations.
Organizations and companies which refuse to hire sex offenders, and in some cases are forbidden to by law, include:
But the types of jobs that a sex offender cannot apply for go beyond daycare teacher or cafeteria chef. People with a conviction for sex crimes can’t work around children or other vulnerable populations. This means jobs working with people with disabilities, elderly populations, or disadvantaged communities are off-limits.
Companies which rent space or occupy offices near schools, daycares, and even hospitals may also deny employment to sex offenders. Such refusal is based on sex offender conviction requirements that offenders stay away from schools, parks, playgrounds, and other areas where children may be present.
Regardless of whether the sex offense was in connection to children or not, presence on a sex offender registry results in many job-seeking limitations.
Many companies have no qualms about hiring non-violent sexual offenders. However, laws in many states even protect violent or repeat offenders from being denied employment based on their conviction alone.
Of course, there are no laws to stop employers from performing in-depth background investigations on job applicants. For offenders seeking employment, being up-front about their conviction can help smooth things over with employers.
Conversely, lying about their status—especially when public records are available in all 50 states—can result in termination. Lying about any aspect of your application is grounds for firing, regardless of your criminal history.
Although a person may not have to disclose that they have a record when applying for a job, an in-depth background or criminal check will turn up the conviction. Knowing who you plan to hire—including their social media persona(s) and qualifications—means lower turnover and higher quality staff. Even if your organization is open to hiring low-level offenders, it pays to know every detail of that person’s history and criminal case so that you can make an informed decision.