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Does Subway Hire Felons in 2021? Let’s Find Out

By Last update March 26, 2019
jobs for felons, company profile, Subway, fast food, restaurants

Are you a former felon doing online research because you want to find a job? If you’re here, you’re probably trying to find out: Does Subway hire felons? And if they do, what can you do to get a job at Subway with a felony? You’ve come to the right place! We’ve contacted them directly to find out for you.

Subway is a franchise chain, and we’ll get into what that means to former felons seeking employment in this article as well. We’ll also answer your more specific questions about the company, such as:

  • How to get hired at Subway with a felony?
  • Does Subway hire people with misdemeanors?
  • Does Subway do background checks?

Subway is an American fast food giant that primarily sells sandwiches and salads. They’re one of the fastest growing franchises and the largest restaurant operator globally. Even so, getting a job there with a criminal record is still challenging.

But we’re here to help you do just that! Many of us here at Relaunch Pad have a criminal record ourselves, and we know how hard it can be to find the right job. So we’ve sifted through all the information to find out if — and how — you can get a job at Subway.

Does Subway hire felons?

jobs for felons, company profile, Subway, fast food, restaurants

Official company policy for hiring felons

We asked Subway about their hiring policy directly, and here’s what they said:

“All restaurants are individually owned and operated. Owners abide by all State Labor Department guidelines and age requirements. Please note that SUBWAY® HQ does not own or do hiring for any of the restaurant locations. All follow up to your application is the responsibility of each individual owner.”

What exactly does that mean, though? Does Subway hire felons? Well, it’s entirely up to the store you apply to. To clarify: This is good news! We will get into why further down.

Has Subway hired felons in the past?

Even though we have no firsthand information about this, it’s safe to assume that people with criminal records have worked at Subway before. There isn’t a rule to prevent them from getting hired, after all!

There is, unfortunately, no consensus online about this. However, many feel the same way: There are a lot of Subways, so they’re bound to have hired former felons before.

Does Subway hire people with misdemeanors?

If felonies are looked at on an individual basis, misdemeanors will be, too. And since they’re less severe than felonies, we can almost guarantee people with misdemeanors have been hired at Subway.

Is Subway on the Ban the Box list?

Ban the Box is an initiative meant to motivate companies to make the process fair for former offenders by removing questions about criminal records from the initial application.

Another element of this is The Fair Chance Business Pledge, an initiative introduced by the Obama administration that encourages businesses to make getting a job easier for people with a criminal record.

Subway has unfortunately not taken the Pledge and is not on the Ban the Box list as of yet. However, since every store is free to decide who to hire without an overall policy, this doesn’t mean much for you. The online application we looked at didn’t feature questions about a criminal record, anyway!

Does Subway have special programs for hiring felons?

No, they do not. Programs that help people with a criminal record get a job are vitally important — especially in a country like the US, where so many people are former felons. If you’d like to learn more about useful nonprofits or government programs, check out Clean Slate for help with clearing your record or see the National Reentry Resource Center.

What are the odds someone with a felony will get hired?

Average likelihood of being hired with a felony

We’d say average, at least. While we have no firsthand information that they do (and online accounts are inconsistent), we still think they’ve hired someone with a felony before. A franchise system means that what one location does has no bearing on another, so you can just head down the block to the next Subway and try there.

What are some entry-level jobs?

The job of Sandwich Artist is pretty self-explanatory: You’ll be the one behind the glass, putting together those fresh, tasty subs. This position also comes with the duty of keeping your workstation clean and tidy, and other occasional tasks. This position requires no previous experience or degree, and Subway will train you before you start.

If you have a little experience, you can try applying for Sandwich Artist Pro. This is pretty much the same as a Sandwich Artist, but it comes with more responsibility as you’ll have to oversee and train other employees. (Maybe pro means ‘professor of subs’?)

Note that all of the above can, but may not, require you to man the cash counter as well.

If one of these job descriptions caught your eye, head on over to Subway’s careers section to learn more and apply.

How to get hired at Subway with a felony

It’s not easy to get a job in today’s competitive environment, and it sure doesn’t get easier with a criminal record. We know. But that doesn’t mean it can’t be done! Let’s see how.

Especially at places like Subway (or Dunkin’ Donuts), the franchise system can be a big plus for former felons. This is because it comes down to you as an individual, rather than some corporate policy.

It might be best, in this case, to check which outlet is hiring and head down there in person. This way, you can meet your potential employer and maybe have a little chat before you hand in your resume.

Speaking of your resume, don’t forget that it’s what you leave behind for people to remember you by. Make sure that it’s free of typos, factual errors and is not too long. It’s best to tailor it specifically to the job you’re applying for. Choose a recent, good photograph and a clear font. If you need more help to write the perfect resume, see our guide.

We can’t stress this enough: If you’ve got any experience that relates to the job in some way, don’t be afraid to mention it! Whether professional or personal, every little bit counts.

When going to hand in your resume or for an interview, make sure you’re as neat and groomed as you can possibly be. Working in the food and beverage industry requires an even higher degree of cleanliness than a job in retail does. Take your time and pay extra attention to little things like clean nails, for example.

It also helps if you approach the interview with a positive and patient demeanor. Your boss wants to know you’ll be able to deal with customers who want their order just so, or can’t make up their mind between honey mustard and sweet onion dressing.

Many people approach jobs like this with less enthusiasm than they should. But showing that you want to do a good job will set you apart more than your record will. Do you love Subway? Of course you do, everyone does. So mention it!

Does Subway do background checks?

This, too, depends on the given branch. Some locations may make the effort, while others won’t.

Here’s some more information on background checks:

The following US states do not consider convictions older than seven years a part of your record. It may be worth waiting if you live in one of these states:

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

(* there are some pay or salary bracket positions where other conditions do apply)

Also, there are eight states that don’t consider cases where you were found not guilty to be part of your record. These are:

  • Alaska
  • California
  • Hawaii
  • Indiana (limited check)
  • Kentucky
  • Massachusetts
  • Michigan
  • New York

But if you live in one of the below states, your whole record will be looked at. No matter the verdict or the time passed, these states will see everything:

  • Alabama
  • Arizona
  • Arkansas
  • Connecticut
  • DC
  • Delaware
  • Florida
  • Idaho
  • Indiana (extensive check)
  • Iowa
  • Louisiana
  • Maine
  • Mississippi
  • Missouri
  • Nebraska
  • New Jersey
  • North Carolina
  • North Dakota
  • Ohio
  • Oregon
  • Rhode Island
  • South Carolina
  • Tennessee
  • Utah
  • Vermont
  • Virginia
  • West Virginia
  • Wisconsin
  • Wyoming

Company ratings

Subway is rated at 3.2 stars out of 5 on Work/life balance scored highest, and 50% of reviewers say they would recommend working here to a friend. That’s pretty good! We suspect that it may have something to do with the free sub you get for lunch.

What felony convictions might have a hard time getting hired here?

If you’d like to work at Subway, a criminal record won’t necessarily keep you from doing so. Just remember that if one location seems unaccepting of your past, there’s always another one.

That being said, it might be difficult to get a job at most locations if you’ve got an assault charge or certain violent crimes, such as robbery or theft, because you will be working with people and money.

But even if you do have a record of those crimes, don’t do yourself a disservice by not applying. It’s always better to try, especially when your personality can make such a big difference because of the franchise system.

Does Subway drug test?

Yes, a drug test can sometimes be part of the hiring procedure. Like almost everything else, this too varies from outlet-to-outlet, but your best bet is to assume they will test at some point, even after you get hired.

Have you applied for a job or worked here? Share your experiences!

Did you get a job at Subway with a felony on your record? Help others by telling us how you did it. And if this article helped you secure a job there, let us know in the comments below.

Jelena Vuckovic
Reentry Educator

Jelena is a Reentry Educator who divides her time between Germany and India, where she works with underprivileged youth to help them find their place in the world. She is a big believer in second chances and has gotten a few of her own.