Equal employment for criminals

April 30, 2012

By Katy Grimes

A recent decision by the federal Equal Employment Opportunity Commission is about to undo many decades of law, while taking rights away from employers–again.

Using the well-worn “level the playing field” adage, the EEOC just ruled 4-1, that employers cannot use a criminal background check, or a job applicant’s criminal record, when making an employment decision.

Criminals now have more employment protections than law-abiding citizens.

Under the very rule of law they have violated, those with criminal records are now the tail wagging the dog thanks to the federal government.

The EEOC said that while employers may legally consider criminal records in some hiring decisions, maintaining a hiring policy that excludes all applicants with a conviction record is a  violation of employment discrimination laws because it could have a “disparate impact on racial and ethnic minorities, who have higher arrest and conviction rates than whites.”

The EEOC also “recommends” that employers not ask about past convictions on job applications.

In a nutshell, to the EEOC, it is discrimination that ethnic minorities have higher conviction rates than whites, and employers be damned.

Read for EEOC decision for yourself:

“In the last twenty years, there has been a significant increase in the number of Americans who have had contact3 with the criminal justice system4 and, concomitantly, a major increase in the number of people with criminal records in the working-age population.5 In 1991, only 1.8% of the adult population had served time in prison.6After ten years, in 2001, the percentage rose to 2.7% (1 in 37 adults).7 By the end of 2007, 3.2% of all adults in the United States (1 in every 31) were under some form of correctional control involving probation, parole, prison, or jail.8 The Department of Justice’s Bureau of Justice Statistics (DOJ/BJS) has concluded that, if incarceration rates do not decrease, approximately 6.6% of all persons born in the United States in 2001 will serve time in state or federal prison during their lifetimes.9

Arrest and incarceration rates are particularly high for African American and Hispanic men.10 African Americans and Hispanics11 are arrested at a rate that is 2 to 3 times their proportion of the general population.12 Assuming that current incarceration rates remain unchanged, about 1 in 17 White men are expected to serve time in prison during their lifetime;13 by contrast, this rate climbs to 1 in 6 for Hispanic men; and to 1 in 3 for African American men.14

Employers have few tools left with which to judge job applicants, particularly entry-level or unskilled job seekers. In California, background checks already cannot be used unless there is a job-related reason.

However, any employer seeking to hire a driver, heavy equipment operator, or a manager, needs to know who they are dealing with, and whether the applicant has any legal skeletons hiding in their closets.

An employer seeking to hire a bookkeeper has every legal right to know if that bookkeeper has an embezzlement conviction before making a job offer.

10 years ago when I worked as a Human Resource manager, I discovered that a part-time accounting department employee had been quietly embezzling from the company. She was very clever. She had hacked into the payroll system and hid her theft by increasing her vacation accruals and payouts, and added extra hours onto her paycheck every two weeks. It wasn’t until she got greedy that she got caught because the amounts were small.

My company prosecuted and won a civil judgment against her. The purpose was to hopefully prevent any future employer from hiring her in a position handling money, or with access to financial accounts. And the judgement would prevent her from obtaining a professional license in California.

This was no school girl prank–this young woman knew what she was doing and had very carefully covered her tracks.

With the new EEOC ruling, this woman, who always managed to obtain jobs handling money, or with access to bank accounts, could get another such job.

The EEOC has just given a huge gift to employment lawyers. What a surprise. Even with the EEOC “recommendations,” lawyers can and will file lawsuits against employers anytime someone with a criminal record feels discriminated against during a job interview, whether there is evidence or not.

An employer may fight a charge of discrimination. “During an EEOC investigation, the employer also has an opportunity to show, with relevant evidence, that its employment policy or practice does not cause a disparate impact on the protected group(s).”

However, the EEOC also states “An employer’s evidence of a racially balanced workforce will not be enough to disprove disparate impact.”

But employers must hire legal counsel in order to defend charges of discrimination. And legal fees add up quickly when dealing with government agencies.

Employers are under assault in America, and California employers have been under siege for decades. It has gotten to the point where an employer must keep a law firm on retainer to fight off the hundreds and hundreds of legal assaults just waiting to happen.

The rule of law has just been greatly degraded, and disgraced, again.


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  1. Rogue Elephant
    Rogue Elephant 30 April, 2012, 12:44

    How insulting and degrading to minorities! The EEOC ruling effectively equates minorities with criminals. Wow.

    Reply this comment
  2. queeg
    queeg 30 April, 2012, 13:15

    This guarantees a full unemployment rate…..white collar crime will rise dramatically…your assets in trust to third parties, agents, escrows, etc will be cleaned out with little recourse…..

    This ruling gave the keys to Jericho to the criminals, felons, con artists, tinkers and generic flim flammers….

    Trust no one with your assets; we will be like in emerging economies…..rip offs institutionalized!!!

    Reply this comment
  3. Beelzebub
    Beelzebub 30 April, 2012, 16:50

    “The EEOC said that while employers may legally consider criminal records in some hiring decisions, maintaining a hiring policy that excludes all applicants with a conviction record is a violation of employment discrimination laws because it could have a “disparate impact on racial and ethnic minorities, who have higher arrest and conviction rates than whites.”

    Wow. The decline of an empire, eh? Because people of color happen to commit a higher proportion of crimes now businesses are forced to hire convicted criminals to make everybody equal, eh??? There used to be an incentive in America to keep your nose clean. Not anymore. If somebody turns down your job application sue him for discriminating against murderers, rapists, thieves, muggers, etc…. As I told you folks. It’s over. Whatever you do from now on just do it with your own personal self-interest and gain in mind. I just told my wife about this. She just stared at me with her eyes as big as tea saucers.

    You know, as a nation we really need to get over this race crap. There comes a time when people just have to suffer the consequences when they do wrong and not behind race, religion, creed or nationality. It would be different if this was 1935 and people were drinking from separate water fountains. Come on for Christ sakes. The nation elected a black pres. Enough is enough.

    Reply this comment
  4. Beelzebub
    Beelzebub 1 May, 2012, 11:04

    You see, nobody wants to talk about the real problems in America anymore. You will NEVER see the media address the truth because it’s too damn politically incorrect. You will NEVER hear any of them report that black males aged 16-34 who make up maybe 3-4% of the total population commit 50% of the homicides in America. And you will never hear the black leaders like Sharpton or Jackson condemn this behavior and disproportional statistical truth. You will never see the black folks marching to protest it. No, now they want to reward it by forcing employers to hire those (of any color) who commit heinous and egregious crimes putting their businesses and hired help at elevated risk! Nobody wants to speak the damn truth anymore. Whether it’s calling out the crooks on Wall Street and demanding their prosecutions or attacking anyone who happens to be in a protected politically correct class demographic. Well, enough it enough. It’s time to stop being so damn polite and start calling a duck a duck. Otherwise we are sure to collapse as a state, nation and so-called leader of the free world!!!

    Reply this comment
  5. queeg
    queeg 1 May, 2012, 13:37

    Wall Street is the least of our fears…..greatest fear could be unhinged armchair reactionaries wailing for the heads of capitalists…..

    Reply this comment
  6. Beelzebub
    Beelzebub 1 May, 2012, 13:59

    The greatest danger in this country are purported conservatives who wear pink liberal panties in the privacy of their homes. We see them here on the boards all the time. Little hand-wringers who are scared of their own shadows throwing out contradictory messages one after another. They remind me of political schizophenics off their meds. One post staunchly conservtive – the next one dripping with liberal venom. Pick a side and stick with it. Get back on your meds.

    Reply this comment
  7. Jim Sanders
    Jim Sanders 2 May, 2012, 12:23

    I have worked in this field of re-entry for the last 32 years. I see no harm in this approach taken by E.E.O.C. I worked for the state of California for 27years. I am the Project Manager/Consultant for a re-entry project, Coming Home To Stay. Also a advocate of Baning The Box. With any interview, the Interviewer will discover if the applicant has a criminal record, or not. But a least give the applicant chance to be interviewed. This is what’s FAIR! In case you are not aware, when all application has”have been convicted of a Felony, your application is most likely DUMPED. And you know what, that person may have been the best suited for employment.STOP THE HATEING

    Reply this comment
  8. queeg
    queeg 2 May, 2012, 14:14

    No hating…called LIABILITY…If you know and take the risk of a felon handling client funds…you are liable as employer…..no hate…just CYA….

    This is the worst of the worst for employers…..tons of lives will be financially ruined….

    Reply this comment
  9. Jim Sanders
    Jim Sanders 2 May, 2012, 14:44

    There is a LIABILITY THAT IS Placed on ALL. We ALL are paying one way or the other. I rather see this targeted population working, than the Taxpayers paying for their incarceration. We take risks everyday! The Human Resource has the responsibility for accurate information gathering, to make any determination. Let’s not be mis-informed.

    Reply this comment
  10. Beelzebub
    Beelzebub 2 May, 2012, 21:43


    Obviously you are a bleeding heart and plus your livelihood is tied into the program. So I do not consider you an objective commenter.

    There is a price to pay when you are a convicted felon. Sorry. That’s the way of the world. You hurt another human being or, God forbid, murder another human being or swipe a whole bunch of money and people are going to look at you with a jaundiced eye….especially business owners who want smooth operations in the workplace. Most would have to have a long track record AFTER their release from prison for a shot at a decent job. Businesses are not social networks created to help the downtrodden and the needy, Jim. Business owners put LOT OF PERSONAL MONEY ON THE LINE in hopes of making a go of it. You are demanding that they take big risks for the good of humanity. This project/manager job of yours must be a government gig, eh??? If so I excuse you. Obviously you have no idea about the obstacles and challenges real business owners have in the world of free enterprise today. Life is much less complicated when one gets paid with other people’s tax contributions.

    Reply this comment
  11. queeg
    queeg 3 May, 2012, 07:17

    Dumb dumb and dumber

    Reply this comment
  12. Beelzebub
    Beelzebub 3 May, 2012, 09:35

    mom, dad and you?

    Reply this comment
  13. Frank Harris-Smith
    Frank Harris-Smith 5 May, 2012, 14:03

    Afro-American is not a choice, it’s in the DNA

    Hispanic is not a choice, it’s in the DNA

    Asian is not a choice, it’s in the DNA

    Blond is not a choice, it’s in the DNA

    Committing a crime, a serious crime like murder or embezzlement, is a choice.

    What about my rights to not hire the criminal type?

    Reply this comment
  14. Mike
    Mike 8 May, 2012, 09:17

    Not one person that has posted to this feed is a saint. All of you have broken the law, and if you say you haven’t it just means you have not been caught. This new ruling clearly states that UNLESS DIRECTLY AFFECTING THE JOB YOU APPLIED FOR i.e. “The EEOC said that while employers may legally consider criminal records in some hiring decisions, maintaining a hiring policy that excludes all applicants with a conviction record is a violation of employment discrimination laws”

    It doesnt say you cant use the background of the person against them it just states that you cant be discriminating against the applicant just because they have a record. Now you clearly have to view the nature of the offense to determine if the offense is related to the job they have applied for……..if not then the offense doesn’t matter.

    Reply this comment
  15. johnnewb
    johnnewb 24 April, 2014, 14:10

    So, how does this work?
    You want felons to “pay their debt to society” for how long? And you believe in “second chances,”…just as long as someone else provides it to

    Reply this comment
  16. johnnewb
    johnnewb 24 April, 2014, 14:14

    …to them?
    How are felons being protected?

    (Sorry, about the split post. Finger slipped.)

    Reply this comment

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