Image with the caption "Does Waffle House Hire Felons."

Despite all of the differences people have, there is surely one thing we all have in common – a love of waffles! And anyone who has been out late (or up early) knows, the best place to grab waffles is the 24 hour Waffle House, a chain that’s been around since Labor Day, 1955, when two friends from Atlanta opened their “Unit 1” with the simple agenda of serving “GOOD FOOD FAST.” Doesn’t get more straightforward than that!

With 2,100 locations around the U.S. (mostly in the South), Waffle House has plenty of job opportunities. And as their co-founder, Joe Rogers, states, “We are not in the food business…We are in the People business.” Sounds like a nice company to work for. But does Waffle House hire felons?

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Does Waffle House Hire Felons?

Alright, perhaps you are ready to apply to work for Waffle House but you’ve read that they won’t hire felons. They will require a background check, and yes a conviction can potentially interfere with your ability to work for them. But Waffle House does not outright state that they refuse to hire felons, so take anything you read online with a grain of salt.

Background Check Limits and Waffle House

It is important to understand that some states have laws regarding how far back a criminal background check can go. Waffle House must abide by these laws and will limit how far back they can run a criminal background check.Here are the laws.

Twelve states do not allow any felony conviction information older than seven years to be reported.

  • California
  • Colorado*
  • Kansas*
  • Maryland*
  • Massachusetts
  • Montana
  • Nevada
  • New Hampshire*
  • New York *
  • Texas *
  • Washington*

(* exceptions based on pay/salary)

Some states will not report court cases where you were found NOT guilty: Hawaii, Indiana, Kentucky, Massachusetts, Alaska, California, New York and Michigan.

These states will report unlimited numbers of years back of felony convictions and also report NOT guilty verdicts: Mississippi, Missouri, Nebraska, New Jersey, North Carolina, North Dakota, Ohio, Oregon, Rhode Island, Alabama, Arizona, Arkansas, Connecticut, Delaware, DC, Florida, Idaho, Indiana, Iowa, Louisiana, Maine, South Carolina, Tennessee, Utah, Vermont, Virginia, West Virginia, Wisconsin, and Wyoming.

Felony Expungement – In a number of states it is possible to have your felony conviction either expunged or sealed. Imagine having your record swiped clean! Learn more here.

Waffle House Background Check

If they do review your background and find something which might cause them to deny you an offer of employment, they must let you know. As legal site Avvo states, the “Fair Credit Reporting Act (FCRA) regulates the use of background reports for employment purposes, and provides you with several rights. Critically, The FCRA requires employers to provide a “pre-adverse action notice” to an employee/applicant BEFORE choosing not to hire someone based on information in a background report. The pre-adverse action notice includes a copy of the background report and a summary of your rights under the FCRA.”

So if Waffle House’s hiring manager was considering you for a job but found something they didn’t feel was suitable in your felony, they should send you a notice and allow you to explain. This doesn’t mean you can “explain away” your past, but perhaps there are mitigating circumstances related to the nature of your conviction.

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Apply to Waffle House

Our advice is, fill out an application and see for yourself. If you are called in for an interview, let them know what they can expect to find when they run the background check. You are there with them in person, so it’s your time to tell your side. Meanwhile, if you’ve gone through some rehabilitation efforts, let them know that, too. Maybe they don’t prefer to hire felons, but felons are people and they need work like anyone else. So don’t let a few naysayers tell you it’s not possible. Find out for yourself!

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