By James Bovard
Should it be a federal offense for businesses to refuse to hire felons? Yes, according to new rules issued by the Equal Employment Opportunity Commission (EEOC) intended to browbeat businesses into changing their hiring standards to benefit criminal offenders.
The EEOC is dedicated to boosting employment of “protected groups.” The agency’s “Enforcement Guidance on the Consideration of Arrest and Conviction Records in Employment Decisions,” released last April, notes that the imprisonment rate for black men “was nearly 7 times higher than white men and almost 3 times higher than Hispanic men.”
Since blacks and Hispanics have higher crime rates, the EEOC has uncorked more than 20,000 tangled words to sway businesses to forgo criminal background checks on job applicants. Even though most businesses perform those checks, the EEOC has made that practice far more legally hazardous — and far more likely to provoke a federal lawsuit alleging discrimination.
John Hendrickson, a top EEOC attorney in the Midwest, told the Chicago Tribune: “I would suggest to businesses that they think long and hard about why they think they need to do a criminal background check.”
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