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Does Whole Foods Hire Felons in 2021?

By Last update January 8, 2020
does Whole Foods hire felons in all positions

Owned by the retail giant Amazon, Whole Foods is one of the largest grocery store chains in the country. For the right person, they will be a great opportunity for employment . . . but does Whole Foods hire felons?

Unfortunately for former felons, this question and others are always on the mind. That’s why we at Relaunch Pad go directly to the source and ask companies questions about their hiring policies for former felons. 

We also use the experience of people who know what they are talking about. This includes experts on the job market and former felons with experience trying to find work after prison.

We know there are tons of obstacles standing between former felons and their next job. We’ll break down a bunch of them, including:

  • Does Whole Foods do background checks?
  • Will they test for drugs?
  • Does Whole Foods hire people with misdemeanors?

For the answer to these questions and others, read on!

Does Whole Foods hire felons?

does Whole Foods hire felons in all positions
Attr: Wikimedia Commons, author ChadPerez49

Official company policy for hiring felons

As always, we went to the company directly to ask them about their hiring policies. Does Whole Foods hire felons according to a specific policy? Unfortunately, they haven’t told us yet. We reached out, but are awaiting a response.

We have done a profile on their parent company, Amazon, and they seem to hire on a case-by-case basis.

In the meantime, we have done a little bit of independent research. Based on everything we can see, it looks like the company has demonstrated an openness to hiring former felons in the past.

While we still don’t know how they make those decisions, this is good news for those wondering if it is possible to get a job at Whole Foods with a felony!

Has Whole Foods hired felons in the past?

Based on what we saw online, it looks like people have been able to get a job at Whole Foods with a felony before. This does not necessarily speak to how they make their decisions, but it is a point in your favor all the same.

Does Whole Foods hire people with misdemeanors?

Since there are a few records of them hiring former felons, they’ll likely hire people with misdemeanors. While it may depend on the nature of the offense, it stands to reason that candidates with misdemeanors have a shot at getting hired.

Is Whole Foods on the Ban the Box list?

The Ban the Box Movement works hard to get questions about a candidate’s record stricken from job applications. When employers see that a candidate has been convicted of a felony, they may not be interested in considering the rest of their resume.

Without the felony checkbox, candidates have the opportunity to be considered on the basis of their merits.

The Fair Chance Business Pledge is similar. Companies that take this pledge promise not to discriminate in their hiring policies. Unfortunately, Whole Foods has not participated in either movement.

The good news is that this isn’t a huge deal. Only a limited number of businesses participate in these movements. There are many employers with no affiliation that are still willing to hire former felons.

Does Whole Foods have special programs for hiring felons?

Some companies have special programs that are designed to make it easier for people with convictions to get hired. For example, some programs might make a special point of hiring people on parole.

Whole Foods does not have any such programs. But again, not a big deal. Special programs designed to hire former offenders are quite rare and aren’t required to  hire people with records.

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

Average likelihood of being hired with a felony

Let’s examine how things are looking. Whole Foods has an apparent willingness to hire people with records. Sources say they have hired former felons in the past. Unfortunately, though, they aren’t involved in Ban the Box or the Fair Chance Business Pledge and they don’t have any special hiring programs designed for former felons.

Based on what we can tell, your chances of getting hired are average. For qualified candidates, it should be possible to get hired. And, of course, once we hear back from Whole Foods, it may be very possible to upgrade those odds.

What are some entry-level jobs?

Most of the jobs at Whole Foods involve some level of customer service. Needless to say, there are many clerking jobs available across their locations. However, there is also janitorial work, as well as warehouse jobs that involve unloading trucks and sorting items.

Shifts are available seven days a week and some jobs offer night shifts and weekend work.

How to get hired at Whole Foods with a felony

You definitely need a well-polished resume. Since Whole Foods is a grocery store, jobs where you’ve stocked shelves, waited tables or ran a cash register will really stand out on your application. These show customer service and a knowledge of how product management works.

Other grocery stores like Trader Joe’s or Market Basket look great on your resume, too. You will be much easier to train with industry experience!

For best results, get a second pair of eyes on your resume once you’re doing freshening it up. Having fresh eyes on the submission will help catch little errors that might otherwise go unnoticed. There are also career centers available in some communities that offer employment services, like resume review.

Hopefully you get called in for an interview. When this happens, find professional attire. If you don’t have anything appropriate, look for opportunities in your community. Some charities offer free interview-worthy clothing, either to keep or to borrow.

In any case, show up to the interview with confidence. If you are really nervous you can always feel free to conduct a practice interview with a friend or family member. No matter what, remember that you are there for a reason. They like what you have to offer!

Does Whole Foods do background checks?

Whole Foods does do background checks.

However, what they learn will depend largely on where you live. 

For example, in some states, background checks only go seven years back. In these states, Whole Foods will only learn about things that happened in the past seven years:

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

*Higher salary brackets may experience increased background checks.

Other states won’t mention crimes that you were found not guilty of. In these places, Whole Foods will only learn about your convictions:

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

Sadly, though, most states include your entire background. In these places, Whole Foods will learn 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

We also made a point of finding out what it is like to work at Whole Foods. To do this, we went to glassdoor.com to review the company ratings.

We found that the company has an average rating of 3.6 out of 5 stars. Their highest rating was 3.6 for culture and values. The lowest was 3.0 for Senior Management.

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

The nature of your conviction can have a big impact on what sort of businesses will consider hiring you.Whole Foods is a retail store, so theft convictions will probably be weighed heavily against you. And, because customer service is involved, violent or sexual offenders may also have a harder time getting hired.

Does Whole Foods drug test?

It doesn’t look like Whole Foods drug tests.

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

Our goal is always to maintain the most accurate information possible. If you have worked with this company in the past, please tell us what you know. Did our article help you figure out how to get hired at Whole Foods? Share your tips below!

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Paul is a Reentry Educator with The Relaunch Pad who lives in the midwest. He has a bachelor's degree in English Literature and is dedicated to providing accurate and insightful information to former offenders who are seeking employment.