Criminal Convictions that Bar Employment of Unlicensed Persons and Ambulance Personnel

The Department of Public Safety and Corrections or authorized agency will provide to the employer the information as is necessary,including:

  1. If the applicant was arrested for, or convicted of, or pled nolo contendere to any crime or crimes;
  2. The crime or crimes for which the individual has been arrested or convicted or to which the individual has pled nolo contendere;
  3. The date or dates on which the crime or crimes occurred

It is the responsibility of all employers that employ non-licensed persons or ambulance personnel to know which convictions bar employment. Louisiana Revised Statute 40: 1203 .3 covers criminal convictions that bar an employer from hiring a non-licensed person or ambulance personnel.  The Louisiana Department of Health provided list of the specific charges which are considered “disqualifying offenses” includes:

If a prospective health worker will be working with clients under the age of 21, these charges also apply:

  • aggravated kidnapping of a child LA RS 14.44.2
  • misdemeanor carnal knowledge of a juvenile LA RS 14.80.1
  • molestation of a juvenile or a person with mental or physical disability LA RS 14.81.2
  • cruelty to juveniles LA RS 14:93
  • Distribution or possession with the intent to distribute controlled dangerous substances as listed in Schedules I through V of the Uniform Controlled Dangerous Substances Act.

Theft – Additional Guidance

Under the law, convictions of theft may be deemed a felony or a misdemeanor depending upon the value placed on the funds, assets or property stolen. The criminal back ground check may show a conviction at R.S. 14:67 or R.S. 14:67.21 but not specify whether the conviction was a felony or misdemeanor. A felony conviction of theft would bar employment while a single conviction of misdemeanor theft would not. It is incumbent upon the employer to do their due diligence to assure that they follow through to determine what the conviction of theft was for prior to making an offer of employment.
Employment would be barred for any of the following:

(1) One conviction of felony theft.
(2) One conviction of theft of assets of an aged person or a person with a disability over $500.
(3) Any previous conviction of theft that is not a felony.

This means that if an individual already has a conviction of theft of any amount such as a misdemeanor on their record and they are convicted a second time for theft regardless of the amount, they would be barred from employment. If a criminal back ground check shows a conviction at R.S. 14:67 or R.S. 14:67.21 and it is unclear what the conviction is for, the employer must determine if the conviction for theft would be one that would bar employment. Ask the person applying for employment to produce additional evidence regarding the conviction.
The addition of criminal convictions of theft that bar employment was signed into law effective June 4, 2014. The law is applicable to all unlicensed persons or ambulance personnel applying for employment on or after June 4, 2014. Employees with a conviction of theft on their record who were working for an employer prior to June 4, 2014 can continue to work for that employer however, if they seek employment with another employer, the new employer would be restricted from hiring them.

Exception to the Law

In previous years, the criminal back ground law allowed the employer to use discretion and “waive” a conviction that barred employment due to mitigating circumstances at the time the crime was committed. The mitigating circumstances were specified in the law. There are no longer any provisions in the law that allow an employer to use discretion to waive a conviction. The only exception now provided for is as follows:
A non-licensed person or licensed ambulance personnel who are working under a waiver granted under the law that was in effect prior to August 15, 2010, may continue to work so long as that person continues to be employed by the employer who granted the waiver and the person began employment for the employer prior to August 15, 2010.
The provisions of the law that bar employment also do not apply to a person who has received a pardon of the conviction or has had his conviction expunged from his record. Documented court evidence of pardon or expungement should be kept in the employee’s personnel file.

Care should be taken before hiring anyone with a criminal record, even if the crime is not listed above. Although Louisiana law does not require that a person be terminated or denied employment for crimes not listed above, caution should be taken in deciding to hire any person with a criminal record with the safety of the residents as the foremost consideration.

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