"Background Check Required" - Felon Discrimination

Discussion in 'Discrimination & Sexual Harassment' started by skeltonh, Jun 2, 2008.

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  1. skeltonh

    skeltonh New Member

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    "Background Check Required" has become an euphemism for "No Felons Allowed". My understanding of Federal Law says this is illegal. Has the law changed, or is my understanding of it flawed? I realize they can limit which crimes can be a exclusion factor (such as no sex offenders at a day care facility), but employers cannot make a blanket exclusion...to my understanding.

    So, is this practice unlawful? Who do you contact with the government about this? Or is this one of those You're-On-Your-Own legal action problems?

    skelton.harry@gmail.com
     
  2. jacksgal

    jacksgal Super Moderator

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    Please post the statute you reference. An employer is free to hire or fire anyone they choose. Discrimination applies to any "protected" group. Examples would be gender, age race. Felons are not part of any protected class
     
    Last edited: Jun 2, 2008
  3. cbg

    cbg Super Moderator

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    There are far more reasons to run a background check than to try to identify and eliminate those with a felony in their background.

    Your understanding is incorrect. Federal law does not and never has made felons a protected group. The EEOC has stated that making decisions on ARRESTS can create an adverse impact, and some states have limited an employer's right to "discriminate" against felons, but there is no such Federal law.
     
  4. skeltonh

    skeltonh New Member

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    Flawed understanding

    Then I stand corrected. Even so, does not a blanket "no felons" policy, with no other reason than not wanting felons on the payroll a point of discrimination?

    How about where the employer is a school, and that school allows felons to take courses, but disallows felons to teach or be part of staff. Even where the school requires that you disclose criminal background? Would that then be a violation, or is it a double standard that is allowed due to lack of prohibitions in the law.
     
    Last edited: Jun 3, 2008
  5. jacksgal

    jacksgal Super Moderator

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    You were already given the legal definition of discrimination. Felons are not part of a "protected class" Are you being discriminated againist? Possibly. Is it illegal? No it is not
     
  6. skeltonh

    skeltonh New Member

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    Thank you.

    OK. Here is a reverse situation: Would it be illegal for me to have a company that ONLY hires felons?
     
  7. jacksgal

    jacksgal Super Moderator

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    No it would not
     
  8. cbg

    cbg Super Moderator

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    What you are failing to understand is that most discrimination is legal.

    It is LEGAL discrimination that allows an employer to have a blanket policy of excluding felons.

    Just as it would be LEGAL discrimination for you to have a blanket policy of only hiring felons.
     
  9. jacksgal

    jacksgal Super Moderator

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    Is it just me or does the idea of a business run by felons give you cause to worry?:yes:
     
  10. cbg

    cbg Super Moderator

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    You're not getting it, Jacksgal ;).

    The poster wanted us to say yes, it would be illegal for him to run a business where he exclusively hired felons. Then he'd have another opportunity to claim that it would therefore be illegal to have a policy against hiring felons. Which, subject to state law, it is not. But he wants it to be.
     
  11. jacksgal

    jacksgal Super Moderator

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    I would further suspect this could be violation of parole/probation. Normally felons are not allowed to assocaite with other felons right? So applying at this fictional job tha tonly hires felons would be violation of parole/probation. I realize we are playing what if game but I thought I would throw this out there
     
  12. cbg

    cbg Super Moderator

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    But it wouldn't violate any employment laws and it would not be illegal discrimination.
     
  13. CdwJava

    CdwJava Moderator

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    In CA an employer cannot legally deny hiring a person based SOLELY upon the applicant's criminal history. To deny employment only on one's criminal history requires the employer to establish a legitimate business purpose for the denial. For instance, someone charged with felony battery might not be excluded from work as an auto mechanic where someone with a felony theft conviction might be ... that sort of thing.

    However, other state's laws might differ.

    - Carl
     
  14. CdwJava

    CdwJava Moderator

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  15. jacksgal

    jacksgal Super Moderator

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    Cdw I just skimmed through that and it talks only about misdemeanors. The OP here is talking about Felons and hiring
     
  16. CdwJava

    CdwJava Moderator

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    Correct. But CA generally prohibits making a hiring decision based upon a criminal record ... the EEOC is simply the minimum standard to be applied.

    While even CA state law under the Labor Code (432.7) mentions convictions may be used in the decision making process, a skimming of assorted labor attorney web sites provides advice to employers NOT to use a conviction of any stripe as a sole determinant, and to tie the specific criminal into some reasonable risk the employer might take on should he hire the applicant. This leads me to believe that there is some case law somewhere ... perhaps where someone had a decade old conviction for something and was denied a job because of a 10 or 20 year old conviction.

    - Carl
     
  17. jacksgal

    jacksgal Super Moderator

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  18. CdwJava

    CdwJava Moderator

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  19. Alan_Johnson

    Alan_Johnson New Member

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    The way I understand it in Pa. an employer may only consider a job applicant's felony and misdemeanor convictions if the convictions relate to the applicant's suitability for employment in the position for which the individual has applied . [18 Pa. C.S. s. 9125.] I need to do some more research on this . If this is true I don't see how an employer can legally advertise "No Felony Convictions" I once sent emails to a number of congressmen . I pointed out that if the millitary ever needs money they should make a list of employers that ask if you have been convicted of a felony . Then require them to pay 45% or more of all company profits . Just think some are setting on billions . Myself, I have had two jobs sent to China and have been being denied employment on conviction nearly 20 years old . One thing needs to be pointed out . Almost every major employer that wont hire a felon happens to have gays and mixed race relationship people working for them .
     
  20. jacksgal

    jacksgal Super Moderator

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    Your comparing apples and oranges. Mixed races or those with different sexual preference pose no threat to an employer like a felon might
     
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