Campaign: Other Ideas

Discrimination in Employment

Discrimination in Employment

 

Fourteen states prohibit employment discrimination against qualified applicants with criminal histories; in some of these (AZ, CO, CT, FL, KY, LA, MN, NM, and WA) the laws only apply to public employers and occupational licensing agencies. In only five of these fourteen states (HI, KS, PA, NY, and WI) does

this pertain to public and private employers—respectively, these statutes express that:

“Employers' use of criminal history information in employment decisions to criminal history which is rationally, reasonably, directly, substantially, or simply related to the job sought. In addition, some statutes employ further procedural protection either for the applicant (in the form of a right to receive a written copy of the reason for denial of a job6 or even a prohibition on inquiry into criminal history until a tentative job offer has been made)7 or the employer (in the form of limited liability for negligent hiring).8” (Geiger) In the wake of a growing state (and national) problem of joblessness, poverty, and crime—like-action in one form or another may certainly become a topic of discussion, bringing about the potential for “ex-offender protections legislation” (as has been proposed by such organizations as the national H.I.R.E Network, who recommended in a testimony before a Congressional subcommittee to “enact a federal standard based on recommendations outlined in the EEOC” (Meyers-Peeples)). Though, historically, much of this constituency has been marginalized, growing numbers may eventually call for and depend upon more compelling measures.

The fear and apprehension that accompanies the hiring of ex-offenders is tangible, but most research on the matter points in a different direction. As, Terri Jackson, the founder of a Denver-based telecommunications company has stated, "Of all the groups we targeted, ex-offenders turned out to be the best employees, in part because they usually have a desire to create a better life for themselves… They are often highly motivated and many have usable job skills that are desirable for an employer. They come to work every day and do not engage in the type of behaviors that will land them back in the penal system."

Studies show that job retention for ex-offenders directly correlates with lower recidivist rates, helping curb the continued waste of taxpayer dollars on a cyclical penal system, as well as lowering crime rates. Despite this, ex-offenders continue to be an underutilized resource for quality labor.

My idea is to limit how far back a background check can go, (lets say 10 years). There are some ex-offenders that have truly changed their lives, and can not get a job in Texas, because of their past mistakes, thanks to the question "Have you ever been convicted of a felony",and if you answered yes, Please explain in detail.

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Idea No. 704