Can I be fired for having a felony even though my employer knew about it?

A friend of mine has a felony and when he
applied for a job he put it down on his
application. They still hired him besides the
felony so there was no form of dishonesty. He
recently got fired and the employer said it was
because he had a felony. Although, the
employer already knew about it. I was just
wondering if this was legal or if it was some
sort of wrongful termination.

Asked on May 17, 2017 under Employment Labor Law, Arizona

Answers:

M.D., Member, California and New York Bar / FreeAdvice Contributing Attorney

Answered 3 years ago | Contributor

Having a criminal background does not place you in a legally "protected class". Accordingly, if an employer can refuse to hire an employee for having a criminal background then they can also fire for it. In other words, it is not going to be legal before hire but illegal after. The fact is that most employment is "at will" which means that a company can set the conditions of employment much as it sees fit. Therefore, unless your firing breached the terms of a union agreement or employment contract or in some way violated specific state law, it was perfectly permissable. At this point, you can consult with an employment law attorney or at least contact your state's department of labor.While I'm not where I can look up any anomolies in Texas law (I can do that tomorrow) I wouldn't hold out much hope that this was an illegal firing and it definitely wasn't illegal discrimination. "


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