Does UPS hire felons?

Does UPS hire felons?

According to recent studies, formerly incarcerated people face significant obstacles to finding stable employment. The overall employment rate over four years after the study population was released hovered between 34.9% and 37.9%, and 33% found no job over four years post-release. Those who did find employment after release had lower earnings than the general population. 

The industries employing formerly incarcerated people include waste management services, construction, and food service. However, the people in these industries saw their employment levels plateau after a few years, even in areas where construction and manufacturing thrived. Industries like manufacturing and construction tend to boost employment and reduce recidivism for those with felony convictions. These jobs did, at one time, allow people to build wealth and support a family, but they are not alleviating poverty among formerly incarcerated people anymore.

Why do companies not hire felons?

Companies may hesitate to hire felons for various reasons, including legal restrictions for specific jobs and risk avoidance. Some jobs, e.g., police officers or security guards, have particular requirements that felons may not meet due to their criminal history. Employers often perceive individuals with criminal records as high-risk candidates, even if they have after rehabilitation, leading to concerns about potential liabilities and the safety of other employees. 

Companies may be unaware of the benefits of hiring ex-felons, such as tax breaks and the potential for dedicated and grateful employees. Despite these challenges, some companies like UPS offer opportunities for felons through programs like the Second Chance initiative, which evaluates applicants on a case-by-case basis and considers many factors.

United Parcel Service(UPS)


UPS (United Parcel Service) is a global package delivery and supply chain management company with an international reach spanning over 220 countries and a workforce exceeding half a million. It was founded in 1907 and is headquartered in Atlanta, Georgia, USA. The company offers various services, including domestic and international shipping, air and ocean freight, logistics and distribution, and e-commerce solutions. They deliver more than 20 million packages and documents daily. UPS operates a fleet of more than 500 aircraft and 120,000 vehicles worldwide. Amidst its vast operations, a question often arises: Does UPS hire felons? Contrary to common misconceptions, UPS does extend job opportunities to individuals with felony records.

This article will dissect UPS's hiring policies, background check process, the spectrum of job opportunities available to felons, the benefits and challenges of working at UPS, and provide a comprehensive guide to the application and hiring process for individuals with felony records. Shedding light on these aspects aims to empower felons with the knowledge needed to embark on a path toward meaningful employment at UPS.

Understanding UPS's Hiring Policies for Felons

UPS's commitment to diversity and equity in employment is the cornerstone of its hiring philosophy. Each candidate's background undergoes meticulous scrutiny, and various factors are taken into account. By assessing these factors, UPS strives to make informed decisions that balance the company's operational needs with the principles of fairness and second chances.

UPS adheres to a non-discriminatory policy, refraining from categorically excluding individuals based on their criminal history. The company emphasizes the importance of transparency and honesty during the application and interview process. Applicants are encouraged to disclose relevant information about their felony convictions.

Key Considerations in UPS's Hiring Policy

  1. Nature of the Felony: UPS assesses the severity and circumstances surrounding the felony, looking at factors such as violence, theft, drug trafficking, and sexual offenses. Certain convictions may pose significant concerns regarding an applicant's suitability for employment, especially if they are deemed incompatible with the responsibilities of the job role.
  2. Time Since Conviction: The duration that has elapsed since the felony conviction is another critical factor in UPS's hiring decisions. While recent convictions may raise red flags and diminish an applicant's chances of employment, individuals with older convictions and demonstrated rehabilitation efforts may be considered more favorably.
  3. Multiple Convictions: UPS evaluates whether an applicant has numerous felony convictions, which may heighten concerns regarding their suitability for employment. Repeat offenses may indicate a pattern of behavior that could pose risks to the company's operations and reputation.
  4. Applicant's Character and Rehabilitation Efforts: UPS emphasizes an applicant's character, integrity, and rehabilitation efforts when hiring. Individuals actively participating in rehabilitation programs, demonstrating positive behavioral changes, and obtaining supportive references may enhance their employment prospects.
  5. Position Applied For: The specific job role applied for also influences UPS's hiring decisions. Entry-level positions may offer greater opportunities for individuals with felony convictions. At the same time, specific roles involving heightened responsibilities or access to sensitive information may have stricter eligibility criteria.

The Role of Background Checks in UPS's Hiring Process



UPS has a comprehensive background check conducted on all applicants, which is central to their hiring process. This step is key in assessing the suitability of candidates for various roles within the organization. UPS employs a rigorous screening process that scrutinizes an applicant's criminal history, employment records, educational credentials, and other pertinent factors.

The background check is facilitated through a third-party consumer reporting agency and delves into the applicant's past, which may go back seven to ten years. They will seek to uncover any red flags or concerns that may impact a candidate's suitability for employment. While UPS does not publicly disclose specific disqualifiers, certain convictions such as violent crimes, theft, drug trafficking, and sexual offenses raise significant concerns.

The background check extends beyond criminal history to encompass other aspects relevant to the job. For instance, applicants for driving positions undergo a thorough review of their driving records, ensuring compliance with safety regulations and standards set forth by the Department of Transportation.

Job Opportunities Available to Felons at UPS

UPS offers diverse employment opportunities for individuals seeking a fresh start and a path toward professional growth. Felons have the chance to embark on rewarding careers within the company, from entry-level positions to specialized roles. The condition that stands in the way is that they should meet the requisite qualifications and demonstrate a commitment to excellence.

  1. Entry-Level Positions: UPS extends job opportunities to felons in various entry-level roles, including package handlers, delivery driver assistants, warehouse workers, and seasonal employees. These positions serve as stepping stones for individuals seeking to gain valuable experience and establish a foothold in the workforce.
  2. Specialized Roles: Beyond entry-level positions, UPS also offers opportunities for felons with specialized skills and experience. Roles such as forklift drivers, sales representatives, truck drivers, marine engineers, and software developers are accessible to individuals with relevant qualifications and expertise.
  3. Training and Support Programs: To facilitate the professional development and advancement of employees, including those with felony records, UPS provides comprehensive training and support programs. These initiatives include on-the-job training, classroom instruction, e-learning modules, and tuition assistance programs. All this is to help employees enhance their skills and expand their career opportunities within the company.

Challenges and Opportunities for Felons at UPS

Navigating the hiring process and building a successful career can present challenges and opportunities. The potential hurdles and avenues for advancement for felons seeking employment at UPS are discussed below.


  1. Limited Job Opportunities: Despite UPS's inclusive hiring practices, felons may encounter limitations in accessing specific job roles, particularly those involving high-security clearance or stringent background check requirements. Limited job options may necessitate highly qualified individuals to explore entry-level positions and gradually work toward career advancement.
  2. Stigma and Discrimination: Felons may face stigma and discrimination in the hiring process, as some employers may harbor biases against individuals with criminal backgrounds. Overcoming negative perceptions and building trust with hiring managers requires honesty, integrity, and a genuine commitment to rehabilitation.
  3. Rigorous Screening Process: UPS's thorough background check may pose challenges for felons, mainly if their criminal history includes convictions that raise concerns regarding their suitability for employment. Individuals with recent or serious convictions may encounter difficulties passing the screening process and securing job offers.


  1. Second Chance Programs: UPS's second chance program provides opportunities for individuals with criminal backgrounds to reintegrate into the workforce. They offer supportive policies, training programs, and career advancement opportunities to empower felons to rebuild their lives and pursue meaningful careers.
  2. Career Advancement Pathways: UPS offers career advancement and professional growth pathways. Individuals who demonstrate dedication, reliability, and a strong work ethic may progress within the company. It's also possible to secure promotions, increase salary, and access additional benefits over time.
  3. Supportive Work Environment: UPS fosters a supportive work environment where employees are valued for their contributions, irrespective of their past experiences. UPS cultivates a culture of acceptance and respect, enabling felons to thrive and succeed in their roles.

Application and Hiring Process for Felons at UPS

UPS offers felons a pathway to employment through a structured application and hiring process. Here's a step-by-step guide to navigating the UPS application process for individuals with criminal records:

  1. Online Application: The first step is to complete an online application on the UPS official website. During this stage, applicants provide basic identity information and disclose their criminal history. It's crucial to answer all questions truthfully and accurately because UPS values honesty.
  2. Group Interview/Orientation: If selected to move forward, applicants may be invited to a group interview or orientation session. Here, a hiring manager discusses the job details, company policies, and expectations.
  3. Criminal Background Check: As part of the hiring process, UPS conducts a thorough criminal background check on all applicants. This check includes a review of both state and national databases, checking for felonies, misdemeanors, pending charges, and incarceration records.
  4. Drug Test: Applicants must also undergo a drug test as part of the hiring process. UPS maintains a zero-tolerance policy for drug use, especially considering the nature of the company's operations in handling valuable items.
  5. Personal Interview: Candidates who pass the initial stages are called in for a personal interview. Applicants should emphasize personal growth, rehabilitation efforts, and a strong work ethic. Highlighting relevant skills and qualifications can also strengthen their candidacy.


UPS offers felons a viable path to employment through their comprehensive application and hiring process. All aspiring applicants are encouraged to consider UPS as a potential employer and take advantage of their opportunities. 

Despite the challenges posed by criminal backgrounds, individuals with past convictions can find career growth and advancement opportunities. UPS and other employers offer second chances, allowing felons to rewrite their stories and build brighter futures.

Belinda Pondayi
This article was written by Belinda a Consultant at Industrial Psychology Consultants (Pvt) Ltd

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