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Does anyone know after how many years an ex-offender can work for the government?

Los Angeles, CA |

I used to work for the government, but while I was laid off I took a bad choice and ended up with a class C misdemeanor. It has been about two years since I got my conviction. I am waiting a couple more months to get an expungement. Would I be able to work for the city, the state, or the federal government after the expungement? I recently got a cashier position at a local Trader Joe's, which it can show that I am getting rehabilitated. I've heard that people with misdemeanors can come back to work for the government after 5 years as long as the job does not involve dealing with minors. Does anyone have more information about employment with the government?

Attorney Answers 3


The federal government has no time basis. It is based on character and conduct and whether you have other incidents that are combined to make you unsuitable under 5CFR 731 standards. Security clearances have no magical formula but misdemeanors are not automatic disqualifiers

This is for general information only. Nothing in this information should be construed as creating an attorney-client relationship nor shall any of this information be construed as providing legal advice. Laws change over time and differ from state to state. These answers are based on California Law.Applicability of the legal principles discussed may differ substantially in individual situations. You should not act upon the information presented herein without consulting an attorney about your particular situation. No attorney-client relationship is established.

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There is no "government" standard. Federal, state, county and municipal employment all operate independently and function as independent employers with their own employment standards. Much of the government of any jurisdiction is organized in agencies, departments, special districts, bureaus, and other offices and entities and many of those have their own individual employment standards and policies. It is perhaps the case that public entity employers have less discretion to override an applicable employment standard or interpret a policy or rule as flexibly as can be true in private sector employment.

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Federal government, state government and local government all have different rules about such things, and there is something else to consider - what TYPE of job are you looking at?
Clearly, a person who will be handling money on behalf of the government will not be hired if they have committed a previous crime involving theft of funds they were responsible for. Similarly, jobs that require security clearances are a lot harder to get than jobs working as a typist or a custodial worker if you have a criminal background.

The best advice is to continue to keep your nose clean, make a good impression on your parole officer and your employers, and ask for letters of recommendation to apply to a job you are interested in.

I also must ask, is there a specific reason it must be a "government" job, or are you simply looking for a job that pays more with better benefits, because there are such jobs in the private sector.

This does not constitute legal advice or the engagement of my services as an attorney.

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I am an environmental science major. While there are many positions in the private field, I feel I will be able to make a bigger difference by working in the public sector.

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