In Tennessee, A Conviction Today May Cost You a Job Tomorrow
Vince Wyatt had an article that was recently featured in the Tennessee Bar Journal relating to the consequences of a conviction. In such article, he discussed how individuals can be prevented from practicing many occupations due to a felony or even a misdemenaor conviction.
Tennessee law outright prohibits an individual previously convicted of a felony from ever working in many occupations. In other instances, Tennessee requires individuals to be licensed to practice certain occupations, and when a license is required in most cases, a felony conviction and even some misdemeanors may serve as a basis to deny an application for such a license or establish grounds to revoke the license of an individual currently licensed. The occupations that either preclude employment for some convictions or have licensing laws that may allow the state to deny employment for criminal convictions in certain occupations include:
•Emergency 911 call takers and dispatchers, •Sheriff office employees, •Police officers or special deputies, •Employment at jails or correctional institutions, •Private security business operator,9 or private security officer,
•Private investigator, •Operating a check cashing business, •Operating an adult-oriented establishment, •Entertainer, escort or employee in an adult-oriented establishment, •Dealer of dogs or cats, •Life insurance representative, •Mortgage loan originator license, •Real estate agent, •Fireworks display exhibitor, •Attorney, •State registered court reporter, •Court clerk, •Bail bondsman, •Employee with the Tennessee Education Lottery Corporation, •Lottery retailer, •Real estate appraiser, •Certified public accountant, •Solicitor of charitable funds, •Pawnbroker, •Broker-dealer, agent or investment advisor, •Teacher or school administrator, •Athlete agents, •Social worker, •Employee of a child care agency, detention center or temporary holding resource for children, •Massage therapist, •Professional counselor or family and martial therapist, •Nursing home administrator, •Practitioner of medicine, •Practitioner of healing arts, •Chiropractors, •Podiatrist, •Practicing dentistry, a dental specialty, practicing dental hygiene or serving as a dental assistant, •Physical therapist, •Optometrist, •Nurse, •Dietitian and nutritionist, •Hearing aid specialist, •Veterinarian, •Speech language pathologist and audiologist, •Electrologist or otherwise licensed to permanently remove hair, •Midwife, •Practitioner of reflexology, •Owning or being employed at a clinic that performs abortions, •Barber, •Operator of a cosmetology business, •Embalmer or funeral director, •General contractor, •Home improvement contractor, •Locksmith, •Land surveyor, •Auctioneer, •Bill collector, •Polygraph examiner, •Alarm system employee, •Geologist, and •Bus driver of children.
The above list may not include all occupations that are impacted by a conviction. Most employers utilize criminal record checks as a mechanism to screen applicants. For this reason, any criminal conviction or even a criminal arrest could serve as a reason to choose another worthy applicant. Many with misdemeanor convictions will find the job market difficult, but felons have far more difficulty finding employment. Tennessee has never recognized those that have been convicted of a crime as a protected class and thus employers are not prohibited from discriminating against such class of persons.