Thursday, August 12, 2010

Employers Check Backgrounds, Get Targeted for Discrimination Complaints

Is it illegally discriminatory to run criminal or credit background checks before hiring? Watch out, the Obama administration may go after you if you do.

WASHINGTON — Companies using criminal records or bad credit reports to screen out job applicants might run afoul of anti-discrimination laws as the government steps up scrutiny of hiring policies that can hurt blacks and Hispanics.

A blanket refusal to hire workers based on criminal records or credit problems can be illegal if it has a disparate impact on racial minorities, according to the Equal Employment Opportunity Commission. The agency enforces the nation’s employment discrimination laws.
Read it all here.

The Justice Department points out that 38% of the prison population is black compared to about 12% of the general population. Why is that?

Is it because blacks are more likely to be incarcerated for the same crimes? That is not my observation (anecdotally) in court proceedings I have observed, but that may be part of it.

If it is not because of a higher incarceration rate, it must be because of either a higher rate of committing the crimes or a higher rate of getting caught. Why?

It would take serious studies to look into it, and we may never have the answer.

Since most crimes by black criminals are against black victims, it would be hard to describe it as some sort of racism backlash (i.e., Whitey took from us, so I'm gonna take from whitey). Is it cultural, perhaps related to the high rates of illegitimate births in the black community (which may have started with a poorly designed welfare system: ADC used to encourage illegitimate children by increasing welfare payments with each illegitimate birth. -- economics in action)? Fatherless households have greater risk of poor socialization of children. Although the white community is catching up, the black community, I understand, still leads in fatherless households.

We humans are so complex, I am sure there are no simple answers.

Still, black, white, Hispanic, or other: doesn't a history of criminal behavior say something about the likely prospective behavior of the prospective employee? Does the Government have the right to force employers to hire criminals? Isn't that simply too much government intrusion?

If government is going to intimidate employers into not checking backgrounds, who will be responsible if the employee commits the next crime while on the job?

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