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Business Owner Called Out For Not Telling New Employee Most Of Her Coworkers Have Criminal Records

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Owning a business can be a tricky affair.

The decisions that must be made on a daily basis can have far reaching implications.

What happens when one of those choices is seen as a dire mistake?

This was the issue facing Reddittor and Original Poster (OP) SadEstablishment5933 when she came to the “Am I the A**hole” (AITA) subReddit for clarity.

She asked:

“AITA for not telling the new employee that most of the others have criminal records?”

She started with the backstory.

“So I ( 30 female) run a small machine shop, I inherited it.”

“My dad left it to me because I couldn’t get another job with my record, and I return the favor by recruiting from the local halfway house at times.”

“I do look into their cases, these are people that served their time and are transitioning into the community.”

Then she got into the problem itself. 

“So paperwork keeps piling up because I’m busy on the floor, so I hire an admin, 23 F. “

“All is good for a few months until she approaches me in the smoking area one day and says she has something to tell me.”

“So we go in my office.”

“She proceeds to tell me that one of the machinists has a check writing charge, she googled him because she was pretty sure he was a guy her aunt dated and went to prison.”

“I basically said oh? Interesting.”

“Mostly because I didn’t want to confirm or deny.”

“She said that she figured that I would want to know so I could fire him.”

“I said  ‘I have 3 felonies myself, so I don’t have a no felon policy because that would be a bit hypocritical, don’t ya think?’ .”

“She got all upset and said I should have told her, and I told her I had no obligation to.”

“She says I should have warned her.”

“She put in her 2 weeks.”


“My friends think I’m right, but her friends sure don’t.”

“She and her friends tried to blast me on a local FB page, but the admins took it down, so there is that.”

OP was still wondering…

“So Reddit, AITA?”

She did return to add a little bit of clarity. 

“ETA: I’m a 30-year-old woman. Just saying because lots of comments seem to assume I am a man. 2. Also no predators are hired”

Having explained the story, OP turned to Reddit for advice. 

Redditors weighed in by declaring:

  • NTA – Not The A**hole
  • YTA – You’re The A**hole
  • NAH – No A**holes Here
  • ESH – Everyone Sucks Here

Redditors decided: NTA

Some were proud of OP’s idea. 

NTA. I will say, turning a business into an opportunity for ex-cons to reenter the community is a wonderful venture, and I hope you are successful in it.”~Freakin_Merida88


I really wish I had Reddit gold to give you an award. Thank you for taking your life experience and using it to help others start fresh.”

“You are NTA. When I was director of a non-profit we had trouble getting good cleaning people.”

“I started working with another non-profit that’s mission included getting people back into the workforce.”

“In 90% of the cases, we were able to transition these staff members to an admin position. One is now a manager at a municipal office. Not anything we did, other than give her a chance.” ~cappotto-marrone

But also, 

“Keep on being their inspiration, because with your past felonies and now running a successful business, that’s what you are.”

“You are showing them that life on the straight and narrow can be fulfilling.”


Others were unsure of the legality. 

“I don’t think legally you can tell any employee about another’s history. So even if you wanted to you can’t. And I’m sure someone with your history can probably figure out who with a record is going to work and who won’t”~bigboog1

People shared personal stories.

My father employed a gentleman that was 2 years out of prison on multiple burglary charges.”

“20 years on he has proven himself time and time again that he has reformed and how successful it can be to give someone a second chance.”

“He is no longer an employee but a trusted friend of the family and branched out as a contractor in the same field as my father who often collaborate on contracts together.”

“He was a victim of the care system in the UK and he’s said multiple times if Dad hadn’t given him that chance then he was on the verge of going back to a life of crime because nobody would give him a chance and he didn’t know how else to survive.”

“If a person has done their time in prison, has completed their sentence then it’s up to us as a community to step up to our responsibility and play the next part in their reintroduction to society.”~FigSufficient

There were suggestions about how to smooth out the process going forward.

“NTA, what a great thing you’re doing. Many people say that the transition from prison to society should be easier, but few are actually willing to put their money where their mouth is.”

“That said, you should tell people that you hire felons before they start.”

“Not to ‘warn’ them, but to make sure you aren’t hiring people who will abuse or harass your other employees.”

“If someone has a problem with you giving people a second chance then you don’t want them working for you anyways.”~MikeNoble91

For many, this boiled down to a privacy concern. 

NTA. Your and your employee’s records are not her concern. She doesn’t have to work there if she feels uncomfortable, but she doesn’t have a right to know someone’s record from where she works.“~seregil42


“NTA. No one has the right to know all of their coworkers’ backgrounds. Having a felony conviction should not mean that you’re never able to feed yourself again.”~Apsis0

Owning a business is a tricky thing.

The decisions you make as the owner can have far-reaching implications for your business.

Helping others, though, should always make good business sense.

Written by Frank Geier

Frank Geier (pronouns he/him) is a nerd and father of three who recently moved to Alabama. He is an avid roleplayer and storyteller occasionally masquerading as a rational human.