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Barred Occupations

Some — but not many — occupations are off limits to people with felony convictions. Help make your job search smoother by knowing your options.

It is illegal for employers to refuse to hire you just because you have a criminal conviction. A Minnesota law called the Criminal Offenders Rehabilitation Act says that employers have to consider you as an individual.

However, you can be barred from working in a job that is related to your conviction. Understand which jobs you cannot be hired for before you make a career plan, start training, or job search.

A few examples:

  • If your offense was related to alcohol, it is legal for an employer to stop you from working in a liquor store, or as a server in a restaurant that sells alcohol.
  • If your offense was related to fire arms, you can be barred from working in places that sell guns. You also cannon work in security and law enforcement occupations that require you to be near weapons.
  • If your offense was related to money, you can be barred from working in a bank or other financial institutions.


Some occupations that require a license — either for the employee or for the business — can be hard for people with a felony. Examples are:

  • Health care occupations, such as dental assistants
  • Occupations that help children, such as child care centers and schools
  • Occupations that serve the elderly or adults with special needs, such as nursing homes or home health care

Some organizations, like nursing homes, will help you to obtain a license so you can work there. This is why it is a good idea to make connections with employers. You want to be considered based on your qualifications and personality, not your criminal record.

Your Options

The good news is that there are many more jobs open to you than those that are barred. When you explore careers, you'd be surprised by how many possibilities there are.

Something else to think about: The length of time that you are barred from a job or workplace might depend on the nature of your conviction or the occupation.

There might be more off-limits occupations when you are first released than there are several years after release. Some jobs and workplaces have a seven, 10 or 15-year limit on restrictions.

This means that your first job after release might be hard to find, and it might not be your “dream job.” But these transition jobs are an important step ahead for your career and to connect with the community.

Understand the Rules

The American Bar Association created the Collateral Consequences website to show how different types of criminal convictions affect employment and other resources. After you enter the website, select Minnesota on the map and search for consequences on “employment.”

The rules about barred occupations and work restrictions are complicated. It is your responsibility to understand them before you apply for jobs. Talk to a job coach at Goodwill/Easter Seals, your local Workforce Center or other employment service to help you know how the rules apply to you.

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