Rap Sheets, Non-Whites and the EEOC

The EEOC is serious about cracking down on employer use of criminal background checks. [Enforcement Guidance on the Consideration of Arrest and Conviction Records in Employment Decisions Under Title VII, April 25, 2012]

Problem is, it`s racist, they say.  Of course, they must rely on a “disparate impact” analysis instead of direct racism, since the record themselves are race-neutral.

Conservatives predict liability problems, because employers who hire employees with criminal backgrounds can then be sued for whatever nefariousness their criminal-employees get into.

Damned if you do, damned if you don`t, as the commenter says.

I admit a twinge of sympathy for the position that criminal background checks can be overbearing:  we live in a society with a good deal more criminalization than an earlier age, and it seems wasteful to make large chunks of the population unemployable because of some scrapes with the law.  I`m sure there are a number of folks with some minor—or even a major—criminal charge or conviction that would make for dependable, productive employees.  Do we want them on welfare otherwise?

But just a twinge.  A job candidate with a criminal record is, in general, much less likely to be a good worker than one without one.

And yes, that goes for the blacks and Hispanics of concern to the EEOC.  The same characteristics that get them in trouble with the law so much more often than whites and Asians also make them poorer employees.

But what difference will any of this make? 

Companies don`t hire them, and they rely on tax dollars for survival, suck up air in do-little government jobs, or perhaps turn to more crime and fill up the prisons.

Companies hire them, and they cost the company money through lost productivity, keep better candidates out of work longer, and trigger all kinds of pricey litigation.

Either way, it`s the same groups paying in and the same groups taking out.