Sometimes you read about policies and programs so stupid, you couldn't even make it up yourself if you tried. This morning, I read about this Equal Employment Opportunity Commission guidance. Read these excerpts, and then the whole thing. Afterwards, let me know if our government is working hard to create jobs - or kill them. If you're like me, then you may be quite convinced it's the latter.
Should it be a federal crime for businesses to refuse to hire ex-convicts? Yes, according to the Equal Employment Opportunity Commission, which recently released 20,000 convoluted words of regulatory "guidance" to direct businesses to hire more felons and other ex-offenders.
If a background check discloses a criminal offense, the EEOC expects a company to do an intricate "individualized assessment" that will somehow prove that it has a "business necessity" not to hire the ex-offender (or that his offense disqualifies him for a specific job). Former EEOC General Counsel Donald Livingston, in testimony in December to the U.S. Commission on Civil Rights, warned that employers could be considered guilty of "race discrimination if they choose law abiding applicants over applicants with criminal convictions" unless they conduct a comprehensive analysis of the ex-offender's recent life history.
It is difficult to overstate the EEOC's zealotry on this issue. The agency is demanding that one of Mr. Livingston's clients—the Freeman Companies, a convention and corporate events planner—pay compensation to rejected job applicants who lied about their criminal records.
The biggest bombshell in the new guidelines is that businesses complying with state or local laws that require employee background checks can still be targeted for EEOC lawsuits.
The EEOC's new regime leaves businesses in a Catch-22. As Todd McCracken of the National Small Business Association recently warned: "State and federal courts will allow potentially devastating tort lawsuits against businesses that hire felons who commit crimes at the workplace or in customers' homes. Yet the EEOC is threatening to launch lawsuits if they do not hire those same felons."
Yep; this sure sounds like a recipe for creating more jobs and strengthening the economy to me! Ay yi yi......