I have noticed a lot of replies that are simply opinions and a split between whether to answer yes or no.
Opinion is not fact so is there anyone out there who can actually come up with a LEGAL answer to this question?
Generally speaking, if you lie and say NO on an application and they find out, it can be grounds for immediate termination or denial of the application (which is usually the case).
Most of the time, an employer will not look at the circumstances of the conviction or the reason the person may have had to commit it. All they see is "Convicted" and "Felony" and the application goes in the trash or to the bottom of the pile.
On the other hand, if you answer YES, it is usually the personal opinion of the employer that you would possibly do something illegal on the job and therefore, your application is refused or trashed anyway.
If you try to say they "Discriminated" based on the employer not hiring you because of being a felon, they can get around that by making up a legitimate "Story" that you were under qualified, over qualified, or for some other reason.
Personally, I feel that this question on an application is a form of discrimination and really should be "Job Specific":
For a job involving handling money = Have you ever been convicted of a felony crime of fraud, theft, embezzlement, etc.?
For a job involving handling medication such as a clinic or pharmacy = Have you ever been convicted of a felony crime related to drugs, drug use, trafficking, etc.?
Lets say for example you have a conviction of Burglary. Burglary can be as simple as just going into a house uninvited to actually stealing things from it. A crime of that nature does not prove an inability to perform as a carpenter or laborer.
Lets say you killed someone in self defense and they convicted you of Involuntary Manslaughter. You had legitimate reason to defend yourself but all they see is that you killed someone and they are now in fear of you.
This is a very touchy thing and laws should be made that make this question only required for the position you are being hired for and Job Specific.
Having a felony conviction of any kind, as it stands, is a MAJOR setback to finding a job.
The old saying goes: "If you do the crime, you do the time" and once you have paid for it and have been rehabilitated, you still face having to "Pay" for it for the rest of your life...
And THAT, my friends is WRONG in a Country that claims it believs in "Equal Opportunity" and "Equal Rights"