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Another Brilliant Plan From the EEOC – Make Felons a Protected Class.

The US Equal Opportunity Employment Commission (EEOC) is taking comments and input on making a new class of protected workers such as women, minorities, holders of creeds, etc.

That new class?

Felons.

In a warped world where people who have broken the law are protected in what is being termed “workplace discrimination” over those who have not broken the law, the EEOC wants to insure that felons have the same rights to a job as those who have not committed a felony.

The EEOC released a statement on the issue entitled, “Striking the Balance Between Workplace Fairness and Workplace Safety,” in which the Commission said:

Employers often refuse to hire people with arrest and conviction records even years after they have completed their sentences, leading to recidivism and higher social services costs, experts told the U.S. Equal Employment Opportunity Commission (EEOC) at a meeting today at agency headquarters.

Speaking to the Committee were:

  • Amy Solomon, Senior Advisor to the Assistant Attorney General of the Office of Justice Programs at the Department of Justice. That would be the Obama Department of Justice run by Eric Holder who has made it plain that the DOJ will sue businesses on the basis of “disparate impact.”
  • Cornell William Brooks, Executive Director of the New Jersey Institute for Social Justice, a social justice “think and do tank”
  • Michael F. Curtin, Jr., President and CEO of the D.C. Central Kitchen
  • Victoria Kane, an attorney with the hospitality group Portfolio Hotels & Resorts

  • Barry A. Hartstein, a shareholder in the law firm of Littler Mendelson
  • Adam Klein, a partner in the law firm Outten & Golden LLP
  • In total that would be two speakers from the far left, three lawyers, and a President of a volunteer organization.

    Who was missing?

    Real business owners.

    Owners of businesses are caught between the EEOC and DOJ suing them for not hiring felons and the damages that hired felons can do resulting in the company being held accountable.

    The New York Post puts a face on those that are “discriminated” against:

    When he was downsized from his job as a software engineer last winter, Ted Brown (not his real name) figured scoring his next gig would be a cinch. His cloud-computing skills were in high demand and he had a stellar reputation in his industry.

    “I was sure that companies would be lining up to get their hands on me,” he says.

    And that’s exactly how it played out at first. There was the manager who wooed Brown over a dinner of scotch and beef tenderloin, and promised a five-figure signing bonus. He said he’d send an offer via FedEx — but it never arrived. When Brown called, he was told that they’d decided to go with someone else who was “a better fit.”

    “I was dumbstruck,” says Brown. “The man had practically begged me to join his team.”

    His surprise grew as versions of that scenario played out at one company after another. Finally, he got an offer in writing — the job was his, so long as he passed a drug test and a background investigation. His would-be employer, though, found what the others had no doubt uncovered as well — that Brown had a criminal record. Several years earlier, in the midst of a nasty divorce, he pleaded guilty to a charge of child endangerment — which he says he would have fought at any other time of his life — after momentarily leaving his son alone in the car to get a cup of coffee.

    “It wasn’t like I was trying to hide anything,” says Brown. “I just don’t see how my leaving my son in the car, on a cool fall day, while I ran into Starbucks has anything to do with my ability to do my job.”

    Sounds bad, doesn’t it? Some guy makes a small mistake years ago and it haunts him for the rest of his life. That is what he, the Post and the EEOC want people to believe. But that’s not all of the story.

    He’d used that same reasoning every time he checked “no” in the box on applications that asked about arrests and convictions.

    On every job application we have ever seen, above the space for the signature of the applicant, there is a block of text which says the information the applicant is presenting is truthful and accurate.

    Brown signed applications knowing that he had lied on the application. What company would hire someone they discovered had lied to them? Brown’s story has nothing to do with him being a felon. Brown’s story has to do with a person lying on an application.

    He got caught and is now complaining about it.

    Getting a job is all about filling the needs and desires of a company. If two applicants are basically the same, why should any company hire a liar and a convicted felon over a person with a squeaky clean record?

    The EEOC and the DOJ says it is because of minorities are more likely to have felony records and therefore not hiring felons impacts minorities more than non-minorities. Anything that impacts minorities must be discriminatory.

    That is the twisted logic here. If a company examines a choice that an applicant made (ie the choice to commit a felony or not), according to the EEOC the company is at fault.

    The impact of this will be that felons will be able to sue companies for not hiring them. Think about the implications of that for a moment. Companies will have to prove why they hired one person over another. It won’t be where the felon has to prove the company was guilty of passing them over. The company will have to attempt to prove their innocence.

    Good luck with that.

    We cannot understand why the EEOC and the DOJ are deliberately doing everything they can to keep companies from hiring people. That is what this is truly about. The EEOC and DOJ doesn’t want a company to pick who they want to hire. The EEOC and DOJ want to make that choice for the company. Given the associated risks with the hiring of people, the EEOC and the DOJ control the choices but none of the responsibility if the choices go bad.

    How can that play out?

    The EEOC announced last week they
    are suing Old Dominion Freight Line over a truck driver who reported to the company he believed he had an alcohol problem. The company supported him in his decision to come forward, arranged counseling for him and found another job for him within the company. As they had done in the past, Old Dominion informed the driver that he would never drive for them again.

    All that seems reasonable. Old Dominion helped the driver with his addiction, and transferred him to another position.

    The EEOC wants the driver back on the road.

    Alcoholism is a recognized disability under the Americans With Disabilities Act (ADA), and disability discrimination violates this federal law. The EEOC said that the company violated both the ADA and the Americans With Disabilities Act Amendment Act of 2008 (ADAAA) by conditioning reassignment to non-driving positions on the enrollment in an alcohol treatment program. In addition, the EEOC argued that Old Dominion’s policy that bans any driver who self-reports alcohol abuse from ever driving again also violates the ADA.

    The EEOC filed suit after first attempting to reach a voluntary settlement. The suit seeks monetary relief in the form of reinstatement to a driving position, back pay and compensatory and punitive damages, compensation for lost benefits for two drivers, and an injunction against future discrimination.

    What happens when some intoxicated driver who Old Dominion knew had a drinking problem slams his 45 ton rig into a car, bus, or something else, killing someone? Where is the EEOC then? Are they going to stand in court as Old Dominion gets its collective butt sued off by the injured people and the families of the deceased?

    Heck no.

    Old Dominion would be on the hook for the damages while the EEOC and DOJ merrily make more rules that hinder businesses.

    Think about that for a moment. The EEOC will demand that the alcoholic be allowed to drive, and then if convicted, be allowed to drive again.

    After all, we don’t want to discriminate against felons.



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    3 Responses to “Another Brilliant Plan From the EEOC – Make Felons a Protected Class.”

    1. Maria says:

      My husband, a very good judge of character, once hired someone who had served time some years prior. The employer was very up front about it and my husband was convinced he had been rehabilitated. Indeed, he turned out to be an exemplary employee. Unfortunately, word came down from corporate headquarters that he would have to let this good worker go because of his record.
      I don’t agree that the government needs to intervene in business practices, but I do believe that an employer should be allowed to give someone a second chance.

      • Charles taylor says:

        I have a felony on my record that happed 10 yr ago.havent. Had a problem.with law since.not even a speeding ticket.but here’s the scoupe when you put on your app you have a felony.your app gets tosed in the trash.without any consideration.we dont discriminate.bs

        • AAfterwit says:

          Charles,

          If you go to a store to buy a pair of jeans, should you have the right to pick what type and brand of jeans you want? If you are partial to Wrangler jeans over Levi’s, should the government or I have any right to tell you what jeans you have to purchase? Should the government have any right to say that you have to shop at Target rather than WalMart?

          Should the government be able to tell a person where they have to work? If someone applies for a job at “XYZ Construction,” does the government have the right to say “sorry – you have to work at ‘ABC Construction?”"

          Why is it that people demand choice in their lives buy don’t want others to have choices in their lives? Why should you have the right to choose what you want to buy, where you want to shop and what companies you wish to apply to, and yet the company have no rights to say “sorry – we have a better candidate?”

          If a company doesn’t want to hire a felon because they don’t want to work with felons, how is that wrong? How is that any concern of the government?

          We are not saying that people do not choose to hire felons. We are not saying that a company should or should not hire a felon. We are saying that a choice not to hire a felon is not “discriminatory” nor is it any concern of the government whatsoever.

          The choice whether to hire or not hire a felon should be left to the company.

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