Give A Convict A Job

Katy Grimes: Never has it been more evident that California is in a downward spiral on the verge of economic, social and political collapse — San Francisco is now pushing to make convicted criminals a protected class so that prospective employers cannot inquire about criminal records.

An already precarious business climate in the state is about to get worse.

The San Francisco Human Rights Commission voted unanimously this week to join the Reentry Council of San Francisco and send a letter to the San Francisco Board of Supervisors and Mayor Ed Lee “urging them to develop and enact legislation to prohibit discrimination in San Francisco against people with prior arrest and/or convictions.”

Because it is difficult for convicted criminals to find jobs and housing, the Commission is pushing San Francisco officials to instead make criminals out of business owners for asking a perfectly appropriate question during a job interview: “Have you ever been convicted of a crime?”

“The Commission heard testimonies from citizens that have prior arrest and convictions records. They testified to the difficulty they face in securing housing and employment in San Francisco after completing their sentences,” the letter stated.

It’s not so unreasonable that the employer who provides the paycheck, medical benefits, pays employment taxes, workers compensation insurance, and social security for the prospective employee would want to know a little bit about the applicant.

I worked as a Human Resources Manager for more than 20 years and can attest to the vast restrictions on employers surrounding employment law procedures and policies. Running a criminal background check on prospective employees has become a standard employment procedure for more than 80 percent of U.S. employers, according to the Society for Human Resource Management.

People who have screwed up are supposed to pay a price. It’s a long climb back to legal society after committing a crime, and not supposed to be easy.

Lawyers have tied the hands of employers so severely, that many job applicants now volunteer information in order to set themselves apart from less desirable applicants.

At the urging of a labor attorney, I used to give job applicants a short written questionnaire attached to the job application which asked about a criminal record. This gave the  applicant a chance to explain any situation in which there was a criminal conviction. Most often, applicants with any criminal record usually had minor drug conviction, which was not a deal killer at our company.

What is left out of most news reports is how many private sector employers offer convicted criminals a second chance. My company was not the exception. While we would give the job applicant a chance to straighten out a past lapse in judgment, there was only one chance given, and only for non-sexual, non-violent crimes. Violent criminals had to reform elsewhere.

Preventing employers from learning about the criminal convictions of job applicants is in direct conflict with OSHA laws as well as other state and federal labor laws requiring all employers to provide a safe workplace.

Once again, the burden has been placed on employers with conflicting laws because of differing political agendas. What are employers supposed to do, and does anyone in government even care?

Connecticut, Hawaii, Massachusetts, Minnesota, and New Mexico, and the cities of Atlanta, Baltimore, Chicago and Philadelphia have already instituted policies making it illegal for employers to inquire about job applicants’ criminal convictions, chipping away at the importance of accountability, and respect for the law.

Most people outside of San Francisco already think that its politicians are stark raving mad. Attempts to ban circumcision, a ban on the Happy Meal and fast food toys, plastic bags, pet goldfish, styrofoam, cell phone radiation laws, and attempts to stop “impulse purchases” are proof. Even prostitutes in San Francisco “are not obliged to make change for bills larger than $50.”

And now employers will not be able to ask job applicants about prior criminal records.

The utopian, liberal insanity has spread throughout California like a fungus in a locker room shower, usually originating in San Francisco, Berkeley or Davis.

And while the batty utopian types are dreaming up new ways to level the playing field for California’s deadbeats, failures and social victims, the taxpayers are going broke or moving out of state.

I am beginning to think that the weather anywhere else in the world is better than California’s.

The Human Rights Commission will be conducting a hearing on Monday June 25 from 4:00 p.m. to 7:00 p.m. at San Francisco City Hall.

JULY 22, 2011

6 comments

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  1. StevefromSacto
    StevefromSacto 22 July, 2011, 16:41

    You are so right, Katy. Don’t give convicts jobs.

    Doesn’t matter that they served their terms and paid their debt to society. They should be branded as criminals for the rest of their lives, no matter what the crime.

    So by all means, don’t let them get jobs, don’t allow them to feed their families, don’t allow them to live near “decent” people.

    And then, when some of them give up out of frustration and desparation and return to a life of crime, be sure to blame it on liberals.

    Better yet, let’s pass a law that anyone convicted of any crime get an automatic life sentence. Then we can cut more money from health care and education to pay for the extra prison space.

    Ain’t life wonderful?

    Reply this comment
  2. David from Oceanside
    David from Oceanside 23 July, 2011, 15:46

    Some people are just bad. My brother for instance was once the youngest convict in San Quinton. He has since gone in and out of prison and is now given three meals a day from the good people of Utah.

    No reforming, no debt paid, he is bad and will not change. He has learned every scam in the books and was once convicted of filing a false tax return while in the later part of a multi-year sentance. He often times lies and has no conscience. He is mean, violent, and has learned to survive in some of the harshest places in America.

    He is not alone as there are many like him. A law such as this will act as a magnet drawing in ex cons from other areas.

    Now imagine as an employer being denied the possibility of screening such bad actors from your business. Its unimaginable.

    The bleeding hearts who are behind this effort have probably never run a business. Never had their hard earned and saved capital at risk. They probably have a cushy no risk job with a great pension. The cost of their errors are paid by others and they are insulated from their own foolish behavior.

    Reply this comment
  3. CalWatchdog
    CalWatchdog Author 23 July, 2011, 21:28

    Steve from Sacto- It’s easy to comment when it’s not your business or your responsibility to other employees and clients.

    Write back to me if you own your own business, and are faced with a job applicant who may or may not have a criminal record but will be handling money, or your accounting records, as well as employees and clients who have placed their trust in you.

    – Katy

    Reply this comment
  4. Centurion
    Centurion 24 July, 2011, 17:04

    The best indicator of trustworthyness is past behavior. A releaed felon inmate may indedeed have “paid his debt to society”, but unless he is one of the few that have wholly and honestly embrace a change, he is still someone who has committed a serious offense. Which shows bad judgement, poor ethics, and a lack of concern for the welfare of others.

    So ya…maybe a released felon has “paid his debt to society.” His reward for having done so is that he gets his feeedom back.

    We make decisions about people all the time when deciding to trust others. Anyone who refuses to consider a criminal background, paid debt or no…is a fool.

    Reply this comment
  5. Sean
    Sean 25 July, 2011, 23:28

    once again, commons sense is thrown out the window to try to do something that makes the progressives feel better…

    Reply this comment

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