EEOC Reconsiders Criminal Background Check Policy

Tuesday, August 09, 2011

The Equal Employment Opportunity Commission is reexamining its requirement that employers do criminal background checks on job applicants. Glenn E. Martin, Vice President of Development and Public Affairs at the Fortune Society, weighs in.


Glenn E. Martin

Comments [18]


John from office, pedantically asserts that he “is not blind to what he sees”. Yet, tunnel vision is where you are blind to the prerogatives of others.

I somehow doubt that John from office would see Bernie Madoff as a stereotypical “thug”.

Unlawful discrimination is the inextricable result of prejudice such as “I am not blind to what I see”.

Aug. 09 2011 01:06 PM
john from office

Fuva, I am serious. I am not blind to what I see. The acceptance of criminality in the Black community is rampant, therefore you get arrested and a record. The thug life is acceptable and admired, therefore your get arrested and a record. Change that and there will not be a problem.

Aug. 09 2011 12:41 PM
Fuva from Harlemworld

People, BEWARE: Chuzzle'wit' and "john from office" don't seem to be into thoughtful exchanges about these kinds of issues. Attempt it at your own risk.

Aug. 09 2011 12:25 PM

Uncompassionate does indeed equate to unintelligent.

A disproportionate number of those convicted of drunk-driving are alcoholics. And yes, it is unlawful to deny an otherwise qualified individual a clerical job on the basis of a dated drunk-driving conviction because doing so constitutes systemic discrimination on the basis of prior illiness/disability.

A tremendously disproportionate number of those convicted of domestic violence are male. Never-mind the research indicating that females are just as (if not more) likely to be the instigators and/or perpetrators of domestic violence. Discrimination on the basis of a single misdemeanor domestic violence conviction is most likely to be unlawful discrimination.

Poor people must sit in jail while an over-worked public defender arranges a plead offer? This fact alone undermines the reliability of conviction records for use in predicting future behavior.

Society as a whole suffers substantial harm by denying individuals the opportunity to contribute to their fullest capacity. When denial/discrimination is based on unreliable cause, society suffers needless harm. Unjust discrimination the impacts protect groups is unlawful.

Aug. 09 2011 12:12 PM
Martin Chuzzlewit from Manhattan

I was just addressing the euphemism that gussies up certain facts.,..which are nonetheless true.

Blacks account for 41% of felony convictions while comprising only 12% of the population.

(Yea, yea, I know's because the conviction rate is higher due to X,Y, Z......discrimination.) Save your breath.

Aug. 09 2011 11:59 AM
kikakiki from wall st.

Martin C: sorry to tell you but blacks ARE stopped more often, prosecuted more severely and are not the largest number of people who are incarcerated - so no it is not that they COMMIT MORE CRIME. Just by virtue of being more visible they are disproportionately impacted, ask darked skinner Indians and members of other ethnicities whose skin tones are dark

Aug. 09 2011 11:51 AM
Gregory from The Bronx

I am all for people who have paid their debt to society a chance, but I must echo Martin Chuzzlewit's comment: stop commiting crimes and you won't be treated as a criminal.

Aug. 09 2011 11:49 AM

'Martin Chuzzlewit' tacitly rejects the suggestion that the law might either be discriminatory as written or discriminatory as applied.

Does this really need to be argued?

Aug. 09 2011 11:49 AM

The material just read from retailers reflects an essential problem faced by workers across the United States today (an issue raised by a caller to the Brian Lehrer Show just yesterday, if I remember correctly):

Employers _generally_ treat employees as latent criminals.

Aug. 09 2011 11:47 AM
Amy from Manhattan

I recently applied for a job via a company's website. The question about a criminal record was in terms of a felony conviction, not an arrest, & had a note that Massachusetts residents should disregard it. There was also a footnote saying that factors like how long ago the offense was, what kind of violation it was, rehabilitation, & which position was applied for would be considered & didn't automatically mean someone wouldn't be considered for employment. How common is this approach? And how did Massachusetts come to outlaw this question?

Aug. 09 2011 11:46 AM

As long as jobs are scarce, this is a moot point. I have hired felons -- but I was only able to do because I needed to fill the job.

Aug. 09 2011 11:45 AM
John from office

SOoooo, we should not enforce laws for blacks?? How about the culture changes and criminality is not the norm?? There is a price to pay for loving the thug life.

Aug. 09 2011 11:45 AM
Cynthia Herzegovitch from the office

So we want them to become productive members of society but we don't want to give them a way to access legit jobs - so we want to pay for them in prison at $30K /year draining our revenues instead of having them contribute to them. Great idea folks.

Give the employers the tools to really do a risk assessment.

Aug. 09 2011 11:42 AM
Jon from Manhattan

This is absolutely nutty. Being of color does not necessarily mean that one is inclined to be a criminal. If an employer reasonably deems it that they do not wish to hire a felon, then so be it. Do we really want felons working at a day care facilities? Being a felon is not like having a physical handicap; the comparison is jejune.

Aug. 09 2011 11:41 AM

If we think that aspects of the law are biased against African Americans or Arabs or any minority group, then we are committed to the conclusion that incarceration rates reflect state discrimination and thus the background checks will carry through the discrimination.

Consider the Rockefeller drug laws or the treatment of crack cocaine vs. powder. An EEOC requirement for background checks is virtually bound to undermine the EEOC's mission.

Aug. 09 2011 11:40 AM
Martin Chuzzlewit from Manhattan

Guest: Blacks are affected more because they are "disproportionately impacted by the criminal justice system." mean THEY COMMIT MORE CRIMES.

What doublespeak.
Give me a break.

Aug. 09 2011 11:39 AM
john from office

Will the government indemnify the employer from any law suits that arise and the lack of a criminal background check is used against them.

Ms. Floyd will use this segment to bring up the "people of color" issue again. They cannot help themselves so they need special treatment. Like children.

Aug. 09 2011 11:36 AM

Another "call to excellence" from the Obama Administration.
Applicants can't pass a criminal background check?
Let's eliminate that hurdle.
Can't pass an academic test - what were the test-givers thinking when they dreamed up such empty rituals.
I'll bet those Chinese and Indian engineers didn't have to endure such indignities.

Aug. 09 2011 11:21 AM

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