Hired as Felon, Fired Because of the Registry

By: TK….

My employment was discharged yesterday.
The circumstances around my discharge are such farce, that I feel compelled to share.

I am 31 years old today, I plead no contest to an attempted sexual assault 9 years ago. I was 22, and the plaintiff was 19 at the time.

Ultimately, I spent 2+ years in prison, released in 2012.
For 3 years I worked for my family in the midwest.

I moved to Florida to be near my partner’s family in 2015.
I have scraped by with odd jobs and I have been loosely involved in criminal justice reform efforts these past 3 years.

For the past 7 months, I have worked with a local Reentry Coalition.

3 months ago, the coalition director and I met with the director of our local reemployment offices.

One month ago, the director of reemployment suggested that I apply to work there, she said that she was about to launch a reentry program inside her offices, and I could help with that.

That’s all I ever wanted: to take what I’ve learned through this struggle and help others find gainful employment, fulfillment, and acceptance.
To work with employers in efforts to develop empathy and understanding.

I started the job 12 days ago.
The Reemployment director was out of town that first week, so I just watched training videos and received on-boarding advice from my colleagues.
This week, I was slated to begin shadowing mentors, applying what I learned in training.

But, on Thursday, the director pulled me aside and told me that she and the corporate office were dreadfully shocked to find out that I am on the registry.

I was dumbfounded that someone I have known for 3 months was surprised about my status, my label.
While I do not introduce myself as a “registered person” I DO introduce myself as a “formerly incarcerated person” and, if anyone asks what circumstances led to my incarceration, I tell them.

She never asked. NONE of the multiple interviewers asked at any point throughout my application process.

“I just assumed you had drug charges or something like that”!

She said yesterday, in an attempt to reflect the blame onto me.

Anyway.
That’s the story.

I was hired to help build and implement a project dedicated to building understanding and reemploying people with legal histories…
But… I was let go… Because of my legal history,
Because of my status on the registry.

I don’t even know how to process the sheer, overwhelming cognitive dissonance underpinning this situation.

I hope this has some sort of value for you, fellow reader.
If you have any suggestions, I’d be happy to hear them.

In the meantime, I will continue my work with the local reentry coalition…
I hope to be of service to NARSOL however possible.

Thanks for reading.

11 Comments

  1. Tony

    BREAKING NEWS!!!!!!
    With hurricane Florence coming. I have been notified that because of my status on the registry, I am not allowed to shelter in the emergency shelters. As a result my wife, son, and I are forced to stay in a mobile home. This is ridiculous, my crime was almost 20 years ago. I did my time and was released from prison in 2001. Im not on probation or parole. I secured a job in 2001 when released and was promoted to management over 10 years ago. Last year i was put on leave for a BS accusation that was dismissed for lack of evidence. The system stikes again!!! Keeping on punishing us for a lifetime. When wll this insanity stop? I have tried to live a normal life but it isnt possible. Even my 2 stepsons refused to graduate school, against my advice, since they knew i wouldn’t be allowed to attend their ceremonies. All of my family have been punished for a crime i commited before I ever even knew them. THIS NEEDS TO STOP!!!!

  2. Concerned friend of an offender

    It’s time for a class action lawsuit against these employers and the laws. The Supreme Court said the registry was not punishment but it denies a registrant the constitutionally guaranteed right to move freely in and out of the country and restricts their ability to work and live in society. Here’s an article about another “social” justice warrior, Olivia Munn, who saw to it to publicly destroy a man who exchanged e-mails 10 years ago with a 14 year old and went to jail. It’s time for this to stop.
    https://deadline.com/2018/09/olivia-munn-ellen-degeneres-the-predator-actor-sex-offender-scene-cut-1202462614/

  3. Shep

    I was fired also here in Massachusetts because I have to put my work address on the registry and the local police showed up on day to check my work address showing my picture around asking employees if this guy works here? The next day I was let go for two resons 1, the woman in the office did no feel comfortable with me working there 2 the company had a meeting and decided it was bad for business to have a SO working there because they would lose business because there company address was on the registry. I have lost 3 jobs due to being on the registry and I’m a truck driver who is on the road. It hurts guys a lot if they have to put there work address on the registry because businesses don’t want there company’s addresses on SO registries. So it makes getting a job so and keeping a job so much harder.

  4. freedomwriter

    Hired by UPS as seasonal driver. Later told nevermind because of the label Did not even mentin the crime, just the label.

  5. WC_TN

    I had a job working at a near-by factory that packages cosmetics. I was hired in through a temp agency. One of this factory’s properties adjoins a little league ball field. The ball field is right behind the factory.

    I am on the registry and Community Supervision for Life for an offense involving a male minor under 12 years of age. By law I cannot work within 1,000 feet of any public athletic field. However, it was during the winter months and my supervising officer was allowing his offenders to work at this site because no kids were present. No kids present, no threat to public safety right? Wrong. When the state found out he was allowing this he ordered him to stop us from going to that particular site. This company has another site in the same town that does not violate the 1,000 foot rule. That’s the only place we are allowed to work.
    After we were directed not to go back to the site that adjoins the ball field, I was asked to go to that building to work. I told the supervisor I could not go and a general explanation of why. She gave me busy work to do that Thursday and Friday. However, at the end of the work day on Friday, I was told to call the temp agency. I did as soon as I was off the clock and found out that I would not be back there any more. I received a positive review from my supervisor. The lady told the temp agency I was willing to work.

    What baffles me is that there is another offender STILL WORKING THERE at the approved site who has the same exact charges, the same supervision, and even the same officer as I. I did my job. I cannot figure out why I was let go and he was kept.

    • WC_TN

      I forgot to mention that I disclosed my sexual offense conviction to the temp agency, so it isn’t like they didn’t know. I have never lied about my background.

  6. Maestro

    TK and Jamie,

    I personally would not have left the premises without speaking my mind first and putting both employers in their places.

    To TK, your employer thought you had drug charges. Interesting. So she is quick to coddle a drug user even knowing that people are quite capable of doing a multitude of crimes under the influence of certain narcotics? I would have told her:

    “Yes, it was drug related. And while under the influence of the drug, I attempted to sexually assault someone.”

    And I would have ended with:
    “See what those horrible drugs can make a person do?” And I would have smiled in her face while saying it.

    As for Jamie, you did lie on the application, however, I would have stood up to them before leaving and said;

    “Gee, as hard as it is to find people to hire and stay at the job, you’re willing to get rid of someone who lied about a past conviction but who puts all his effort into helping your company sell its products. Since you’re so judgmental, I wonder if you’re liberals who claim the “equality and acceptance and no discrimination” motto.”

    And I would have smiled in their faces and then walked out.

    Stop allowing people to shame YOU without shaming them back. Food for thought if it happens again in the future.

  7. Jamie W

    Hi TK,

    I can really understand what you are going through. I had something very similar happen to me. I was released from jail in April of 2004. Upon release I had to register under my state’s sex offender laws. In 2008 I was desperate for a job, ANY job, so I scoured the want ads. I came up with a sales position at a local retail chain store. On the application it asked if I was ever convicted of a felony. I was desperate, so I checked the NO box praying to God they don’t do background checks. In any instance I was interviewed and hired for the job. $6 an hour plus commission on whatever I sold. A job is a job, and while most people would probably turn down a position with that kind of salary, I was more than pleased to accept, knowing that I would be a tax paying, productive member of society again. Things were good. I sold plenty of product making very respectable commission checks. That was August of 2008. In November of that same year one of the assistant managers of the store paid a visit to my department. He told me that I was needed upstairs for a brief meeting with the store manager. In my mind I was thinking, “This is either a promotion or I’m being fired.” So, I went to the manager’s office. She instructed me to close the door and sit down. She wasted no time. She asked me if I was a registered sex offender. But before I could reply she turned her computer monitor around so I could see it. On the screen was my photo and vital information on my state’s Megan’s Law site. I was forced to say yes. The manager told me that a fellow employee came to her with this information. She of course would not reveal this employee’s name, but I had a pretty good idea as to who it was. She in turn told me that my employment with the company was terminated, effective immediately. I was to collect my things and vacate the premises. I did so, in shame feeling as though everyone’s eyes were on me as I left. I felt that everyone now knew everything; that I had the proverbial scarlet letter tattooed on my forehead. I couldn’t get out of there fast enough.
    I have had only 1 legitimate job since then, and I got fired from that one as well for a similar reason. I am now forced to live on a very meager monthly payment from Social Security. I want to work, I really do. Sitting at home doing nothing gets old after about the first month of that. But no one will hire a convicted sex offender. I can’t even get a position flipping burgers at McDonald’s. Anyway TK, I feel for you. You are really committed to helping people out, especially those who are RSOs, and you lose a position because you are a RSO. Totally unfair and unjust. But keep your head up; at least you’re still involved, and I applaud you for that. Stay strong!

  8. Jonathon

    Bigotry and malice towards fellow registrants knows no bounds. We are the last minority.
    Florida,Louisiana,Alabama,are very inhospitable places for registrants.

    • WC_TN

      All of this proves that the “God-fearin’, law-abidin’ decent and respectable Christian” members of “respectable society” are in reality NOTHING OF THE SORT. They are unforgiving, extremely hateful, bigoted, self-righteous, judgmental hypocrites of the rankest kind.

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